For the second time in two weeks, the Strong4Life movement made a huge splash at an Atlanta Public school when team members delivered music, prizes, games—and most importantly, the message of ending childhood obesity in Georgia —to students at Dunbar Elementary School last week.
With over 1 million of the state’s children categorized as overweight or obese, Georgia has the second worst childhood obesity rate in the nation, second only to Mississippi. Being overweight can lead to conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and as the Strong4Life campaign says, “Takes the fun out of being a kid.” Surprisingly, 75% of Georgia parents who have overweight children do not recognize the problem.
Through its Strong4Life movement, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is tackling Georgia’s childhood obesity crisis by traveling around the state and educating children and parents about the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. The first two phases of the campaign featured the popular black and white billboards and commercials showing children and parents talking candidly about the health and social issues related to being overweight. The current phase provides solutions to the problem, which involves taking the message to communities and schools around the state.
Students, teachers and parents at Dunbar spent a full week with the Strong4Life team learning the four components of a healthy lifestyle—drinking water, limiting sugary drinks, loading up on fruits and vegetables and limiting screen time—and living what they learned. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta board member and Strong4Life volunteer, David Adams, stated that CHOA chose Dunbar as one of the schools for the Strong4Life movement because they were impressed with the school’s “great leadership and resources.”
“This really is a fantastic school,” said Adams. “The principal is really inspiring and the kids are eager and enthusiastic. Working with them on this project has been an amazing experience,” he stated.
The weeklong event at Dunbar began with a kick-off rally and ended with outdoor games and a fun-run. During the days between, the students demonstrated their competitiveness in the Strong4Life challenge. Each day, after the Strong4Life team taught students about each of the four components of a healthy lifestyle, students where challenged to put what they learned into action. They logged their activities daily to accrue points, and their parents signed their daily logs to validate. The class with the most points for the day won prizes and bragging rights.
“Strong4Life has the entire school excited,” said parent volunteer, Rashawd Clark. “The kids come home excited telling us how we have to eat right and drink more water. And at school all the kids are comparing their logs to see who’ll get the most points. This has been really good for them.”
The Strong4Life team will return to Dunbar for one day every other month for the remainder of this school year. For more information on Strong4Life, please visit: http://www.choa.org/Child-Wellness/About-Strong4Life or http://www.strong4life.com