NASA and other global space agencies have challenged 3,700 students in 25 cities around the world to "train like an astronaut," the US space agency said Tuesday.

The six-week pilot project, called "Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut" aims to teach healthy eating and exercise habits to children aged eight to 12, NASA said.

Students will also compete for points in scientific reasoning and working as a team as they practice techniques for strength training, endurance, balance and coordination.

"The exercises will involve the same types of skills astronauts learn during training for spaceflights," NASA said in a statement.

Among the countries hosting teams for the challenge are the United States, Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Colombia.

The US team consists of 800 students in fourth grade (age 9-10) in the College Station Independent School District in College Station, Texas.

"A part of the human space exploration mission is to inspire our youth to stay in school and master professions in the sciences and engineering fields to carry on this important work well into the 21st century," said NASA project manager Charles Lloyd.

"We believe this starts with our youth in elementary school. We hope this international fitness challenge will assist them with that lifelong endeavor."