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Globetrotters bring battle against obesity to D.C. school

Friday - 5/31/2013, 5:42pm  ET

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Harlem Globetrotters team members Too Tall and Cheese visit with St. Augustine Catholic School students Wednesday to promote excercise and encourage kids to stay active. (WTOP/Lauren Clark)
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Lauren Clark, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Elementary students gaze wide-eyed at Cheese while he performs a dizzying display of tricks with the basketball, moving it rapidly between and around his fingers, arms, head, and legs.

At the last moment, he catches the ball behind his back in a push-up position as his teammate, Too Tall, encourages the kids to do push-ups with them.

The pair then leads the students from D.C.'s St. Augustine Catholic School in a series of runs, jumping-jacks and relays intertwined with fun tricks and stunts.

Both Cheese and Too Tall are members of the Harlem Globetrotters, the nationally known entertainment basketball team, who focus on educating students about how fitness can be fun. They visited the V Street NW school Wednesday as part of a new outreach program called Some Playtime Is Necessary.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than one-third of children were overweight or obese in 2010.

The Globetrotters have started SPIN to encourage children to get active every day to help fight the childhood obesity problem. Cheese and Too Tall joined the students at a park near Dupont Circle to help them give fitness, and basketballs, a spin.

"This is a very positive impact on the students," said Raven Wilkins, vice principal of St. Augustine. "It gives them motivation by showing you can have fun while exercising."

The Globetrotters also offer basketball clinics, where boys and girls ages 6 to 12 learn basic skills and fun tricks while being coached by players.

This year, clinics will be held in Falls Church, Va., and Annapolis, Md., from July 15 to 20. For more information, visit harlemglobetrotters.com

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