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NOW TO WALK BACK HOME FROM SEATTLE

Kids at the city's summer camp walked more than 3,100 miles in an antiobesity campaign.

The travellers reached Seattle on Thursday morning. The youngest of them charged into the city; the oldest padded in with cell phones in hand.

But all of them made the trip together - on foot.

In theory, anyway. One more lap around the New Port Richey gymnasium Thursday, and the 100 or so summer campers had walked more than 3,158 miles since last week, the equivalent of a trip to Seattle.

"Who thinks we made it to Seattle?" recreation director Elaine Smith asked the campers, age 6 to 12, assembled in the bleachers before they took their final lap. "Guess what? We made it!"

This simulated cross-country trek was part of an antiobesity campaign paid for with a $1,500 grant from the Florida Recreation and Park Association Foundation.

Each child got a pedometer to measure the number of steps he or she took every day at the camp. Tally up all the steps, convert those into miles and you wind up across the country, in Seattle.

Campers get to keep the pedometers.

The program aimed to show the children that they can get exercise by playing outside and just moving. "It's trying to get them away from the video games," Smith said. "It's trying to get them to realize there are all kinds of activities you can do."

The goal of racking up enough miles to reach Seattle - with "stops" along the way in Georgia, Kentucky, South Dakota and Montana, among others -had motivated campers to walk and run laps without even being asked to. Some even have a new goal.

Said Smith: "A lot of them want to walk back to Florida."

FAST FACTS

How many calories are burned walking 1 mile?

That varies depending on your weight, how fast you're walking and the terrain you're covering. An average is 100 calories per mile.

Here's how long it takes to burn roughly the same calories doing other activities:

- 15 minutes whitewater rafting

- 16 minutes shooting hoops

- 16 minutes weeding the garden

- 24 minutes playing Frisbee

Sources: TheWalkingSite.com and the Mega Mileage Club

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