Decatur County students will increase movement timesPublished 11:46am Saturday, January 11, 2014
Beginning in 2014, all five elementary schools in the Decatur County School System will take part in a new initiative that will aim to get kids moving a little more.
Power Up for 30 is a statewide initiative encouraging schools to add 30 additional minutes of physical activity for each student during the day — whether that be before, during or after school.
Decatur County was one of the first school districts in the state to sign the pledge to participate. According to the Georgia Department of Health, Decatur County was listed at 140 out of Georgia’s 159 counties for health outcomes — the length and quality of life. This ranking was published in a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, which also found that Decatur County ranked 152 out of 159 counties for health factors, including health behaviors, social factors and the physical environment.
Debbie Purcell, Decatur County School Nutrition Director, said the schools have yet to go through training for the initiative, but teachers will likely incorporate more movement before or after classes. Purcell noted the school system has worked for the last several years to address issues like obesity and lack of exercise through several programs.
“One of the goals is to increase physical activities for the students and also the staff,” Purcell said. “It is vital that our staff members take part as well and our wellness team decided we would focus on staff wellness in 2013 and 2014.”
Purcell said teachers across the school system have entered into the Decatur County Weightloss Challenge. So far this year, 78 staff members participated and more than 435 pounds have been lost — not counting pounds lost in the most recent session before the holidays.
“Our children and staff need to be healthy in order to teach and to learn,” Purcell said. “So we are hoping we are role modeling as staff members how to create habits for a lifetime of healthiness.”
Elementary students should see an increase in physical activity by the end of the school year under the Power Up For 30 initiative.