Elementary school focusing on health in curriculum - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Elementary school focusing on health in curriculum

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT)- According to the CDC, 66 percent of Arkansans are overweight, but there may be hope at one Region 8 school who has incorporated health and wellness into their curriculum. 

Eagle Mountain Magnet Elementary School in Batesville received a national award last year for their efforts in creating a healthier school for their students. The school has been deemed a Health and Wellness Magnet School.

Eagle Mountain Magnet is one of 250 schools across the nation that was honored at the Healthy Schools Program Forum last fall. 

"One of the first things we did, we took the fryer out of the cafeteria, so our children don't eat anything fried in our own kitchen," said Principal Pat Rutherford.

Rutherford said the school has made a lot of changes to give kids healthier options.

"We've added a salad bar for the older students,we've done fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks for our students for several years now," she said.

"We've added before and after-school activities that encourage students to get up and move."

Every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance and announcements every one in the school does an exercise together.

"I think we've taught them that in the long run this will pay off, that you're going to love longer, you're going to be healthier, you're going to save on medical costs," Rutherford said. 

The school also offers physical activities like taekwondo, archery, biking, jump rope even a fishing club. Sixth grader,Gina Mishark said her favorite activity is archery.

"One of the things that archery has probably taught me is that your 're just on a team you also have to be a good citizen, you have to get good grades, you have to be a role model to other people," Mishark said.

The activity list does not stop there.

"They told us how to do CPR in health lab and they have a bunch of activities," said 6th grader, Clayton Roberson. 

The school has also opened up their facility to the community.

"We provide free adult exercise classes all through the school year, it's after school," Rutherford said.

She said it's the little changes in the school that have made the biggest difference.

"It's very important for children to see that it's more to life than sitting in front of a computer and playing video games," she said.

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