Kids enjoying the obstacle playground installed at the Melekeok Elementary School through the help of the Rotary Club of Palau who funded the project. The group tapped the help of the Civic Action Team to construct the playground in an intent to provide a safe and fun facility for kids where they could be active. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

A rotary club in Palau has a unique approach in solving obesity in the country – building “obstacle playgrounds” among public schools to instill the importance of having active lifestyle to Palauans at an early age.

Rotary Club of Palau President Danka Ledgerwood told the Times that the obstacle playground they recently turned over to the Melekeok Elementary School on August 12 was the third playground they built this year after the ones constructed in Maris Stella Elementary School in January and Airai Elementary School in February.

Ledgerwood said that obstacle playgrounds are designed in such a way as to provide a safe and fun place for kids to be active.

Building playgrounds provides “a natural way for kids to [lose weight by moving], Ledgerwood said, explaining further that kids nowadays tend to be inactive and prefer to play with their gadgets.

Ledegerwood said that teachers of schools they had helped shared their students now go to the playgrounds to play during school recess instead of just doing nothing.

“This is a good way to be active and to lose weight. So this is natural exercise for them to start to stay outside and do things with their classmates,” Ledgerwood said.

Ledgerwood explained that their school playground projects were funded through their fundraising initiatives and also by the financial support from the Rotary Club in Tokyo. They also partnered with the Civic Action Team in Palau to do the actual construction work for the project.

Rotary Club of Palau member Yoko Morisaki said that the Rotary Club in Tokyo had expressed further support for their project to be able to provide more playgrounds in schools.

The group is also set to build another obstacle playground in Peleliu Elementary School, Ngaraard, Aimeliik, Ngardmau, and Ibobang, adding that if they could get more funding support, they will build more.

Obesity has been a big concern of Palau as the country continues to be ranked as among the most obese countries in the world. Just recently, the World Population Review had ranked Palau as the fifth most obese country in the world. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)