Elementary school focusing on health in curriculum

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT)- According tothe CDC, 66 percent of Arkansans are overweight, but there may be hope at oneRegion 8 school who has incorporated health and wellness into theircurriculum.

Eagle Mountain Magnet Elementary School inBatesville received a national award last year for their efforts in creating ahealthier school for their students. The school has been deemed a Health andWellness Magnet School.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The school also offers physicalactivities 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 hasprobably taught me is that your 're just on a team you also have to be a goodcitizen, you have to get good grades, you have to be a role model to otherpeople," Mishark said.

The activity list does not stopthere.

"They told us how to do CPR inhealth lab and they have a bunch of activities," said 6th grader, ClaytonRoberson.

The school has also opened up theirfacility to the community.

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

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

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

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