Wellness Challenge aims for healthier student bodyOKABENA — There will be no couch potatoes at Southwest Star Concept High School this winter. The district’s Wellness Committee wants to get students moving during the often-sedentary winter months with a school-wide fitness challenge in February.
OKABENA — There will be no couch potatoes at Southwest Star Concept High School this winter. The district’s Wellness Committee wants to get students moving during the often-sedentary winter months with a school-wide fitness challenge in February.
“We’re excited about it because all the kids are going to be exposed to lots of different types of exercise,” said SSC Dean of Students Cindy Owen. “We’re hoping that a majority of kids will buy into it and see that it is to benefit them.”
Here’s how it will work: the roughly 180 students in grades 7-12 will be split into 15 co-ed teams of mixed ages. Each team will choose a team name and an adult supervisor from the school’s staff or the community. Each day, during the lunch period and part of the third block class time, students will engage in a variety of physical activities; fitness videos, hall walking and yoga among them.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate, and each team that has all of its members participate will receive a sticker. Enough stickers will earn that team a prize, such as a free bowling pass or other items donated by local businesses. Owen is hoping to organize a group activity to end the month and mentioned a field trip to the Jackson Speedway or a day of ice skating or bowling as options.
The committee hopes the challenge will encourage students to adopt healthier lifestyles, especially in the face of a nationwide increase in childhood obesity.
“There are a lot of kids that have a lot of medical issues because of their weight. … and they need to see that being healthy and physically fit is cool. And it can be fun,” Owen said.
The Wellness Committee was established in 2006 after it was mandated that every district in the state develop a wellness policy. Members meet a couple of times each year to revise the policy and plan district-wide wellness initiatives, such as the Wellness Fairs at the elementary and high school on parent-teacher conference nights.
The fairs offer samples of healthy snacks, blood pressure and glucose checks, free dental health checks and booths like “Germ City” where attendees can use a special light to reveal how many germs are on their hands.
Owen said enrollment has increased in the school’s 3-2-1 class, which focuses on cardiovascular activity, weight training and abdominal exercise. The school has also served as a good walking track for community members.
“The activity in the building has been tremendous,” Owen said. “People come and walk the hall all the time; we have a really nice layout for that.”