Series Focuses on Healthy Children

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Discussion for the Community Foundation of East Mississippi's Breakfast Series Friday focused on links between physical education and academic excellence.

Mississippi ranks as one of the highest childhood obesity states in the nation, and now the state ranks at the top of states working to combat obesity. But how do we start?

"I think it's important to start with children, because these are lifestyle behaviors that get established earlier," said Therese Hanna of the Center for Mississippi Health Policy. "And it's a lot easier to address them with children. A good way to address them with children is to address the school environment because they're in that environment so much."

In our area, Northeast Elementary was awarded one of the John D. Bower grants. The grant can bring up to $173,000 into the school over the next three years, to be used to implement programs to improve weaknesses in physical education programs and increase the health of the students and staff at the school.

"I hope to see our children beginning to see the positive aspects of healthy activity," said Northeast Elementary School nurse, Robin Hull. "I think we live in a society that tends to have children indoors sitting on couches, watching those videos, playing those video games. Hopefully, we will be able to introduce them to activities that promote health by getting them outside, by getting them moving once again, introducing that it can be fun."

Other plans also include community events that will help spread these healthy ideas throughout the community.


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  • by Roman Location: Meridian, MS on Sep 26, 2008 at 02:08 PM
    Consider these facts regarding obesity:  According to the Child and Youth Prevalence of Overweight Survey, 43.4% of Mississippi’s 7th graders are overweight. This figure is in contrast to self-reported data which previously calculated that only 29% of 7th graders were overweight.  Childhood obesity is a significant predictor of coronary heart disease in adulthood.  Obesity accounts for a substantial part of increased disability in adults and is expected to result in an increase of 10-25% in the nursing home population by 2020.  Obesity accounts for approximately 9.1% of all total annual medical expenditures.  The estimated annual health care costs attributed to adult obesity (in 2003 dollars) in Mississippi is $757 million, of which $223 million is cost to Medicare and $221 million is cost to Medicaid.  Approximately 8% of private employer medical claims are due to overweight and obesity.  About 27% of the increase in medical costs from 1987 to 2001 was due to obesity.
  • by Lisa Location: Meridian on Sep 26, 2008 at 02:05 PM
    When I was in school we always had P.E. three times a week for an hour. Children do not have that now. I think bringing back P.E. not only helps children get physically active, but it also gives them a mental break from class. Maybe they would come back more refreshed and ready to learn.
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