Mississippi schools trying to help kids overcome obesity - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Chip Washington

Mississippi schools trying to help kids overcome obesity

HORN LAKE, MS (WMC-TV) - A survey recently ranked Mississippi number one in the nation for obesity, with more than 30 percent of adult Mississippi residents classified as overweight.

Proper diet and exercise start when a person is young, which is whyDeSoto County Schools are fighting the battle of the bulge with students.

DeSoto County school officials believe strongly that providing healthier eating choices can help make more productive students and the idea seems to be catching on.

"Educating our children about making healthy choices is nothing but smart, they'll be a healthier person and a happy person," DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall said.

In a state where 'watching the waistline' has been a major issue for years, schools like Horn Lake High are working to set an example by changing the fitness and eating habits for its students.

"The teachers are on-board and trying to do better and the administration does as well. We are trying to lead by example to our students with what we sell and offer," Horn Lake Principal Jim Ferguson said.

Jim Ferguson said his school abides by state imposed guidelines which is part of the Health Schools Act. This means anything sold by the school during the day should contain no more than be 200 calories per package. 

For students like junior Derrick Wilson, who lost 30 pounds in two years, the change is something to feel good about.

"I feel good about it because I have changed my way of eating and it has improved my weight loss from 9th grade to now," Wilson said.

"I've noticed myself slimming down, getting into sports and everything and I definitely think its a great idea for everybody. I recommend it," student Jenny Parker said.
All entering freshmen are required to take at least one semester of PE classes.

As for those snacks, anything sold must include the option of fresh fruit. All other items must follow the strict guidelines as set forth by the district in reducing fat, calories and added sugar.

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