Training the body and the mind

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

For most elementary students recess is unequivocally the most popular time of the school day, but in some ways, it’s also the most important.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, the Magnolia state currently has the third highest rate of adult obesity in the nation at 35.5 percent. This number stems from another worrying statistic; over 40 percent of school-aged children and youth in Mississippi are either overweight or obese.

Data from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children shows the prevalence of obesity in children 2- to 5-years-old is a staggering 27.4 percent.

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However, elementary teachers in Pearl River County are battling childhood obesity with a strategic plan that starts on the school yard.

A second-year physical education teacher at Nicholson

Elementary School has already begun her journey to solve childhood obesity by receiving a Project Fit America grant to construct an exercise-oriented playground on the school’s campus.

The state-of-the-art equipment not only provides an opportunity for the young students to exercise, it also makes it fun.

With children, sometimes the only way to get them to do something is to show them that they can have fun doing it.

And though it might seem like it should be easy to convince children that running on the playground is fun, it’s a whole different animal when you want to make sure they are also eating properly. Along with the newly acquired grant, physical education teachers are teaching the benefits of eating healthy and how to grow your own vegetables, herbs and fruits.

In all, kids should be taught at an early age how to properly eat and exercise, but more importantly, be shown how much it will impact their lives down the road.

Teachers across Pearl River County are showing a great initiative in making this happen.