That's the focus of a new study by researchers at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). The study, called the MCG FitKid Project, received a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The FitKid Project will assess the effects of changes made to the after-school activities of 300 third graders in nine Richmond County schools for three years. Each day after school, the children will do some warm-up drills and then receive sports skill instruction, such as learning how to dribble a basketball.
Following that, the children will do 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity in the form of games. Then they'll do strength training using calisthenics and resistance exercises.
When they get hungry, the children will choose from a U.S. Department of Agriculture list of healthy snacks.
The results of the study group will be compared to a control group of 300 third graders in nine other schools who'll keep doing what they normally do after school.
Third graders were chosen for this study because that tends to be the age when physical activity starts to decline and weight starts to increase.
The U.S. Surgeon General has more information about the growing problem of overweight and obese children.