CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Now that students across West Virginia are back in school, they’re JAMmin’ for health. The Just-a-Minute (JAM) national campaign is designed to encourage students spend at least one minute a day moving.
West Virginia schools are leading the nation in the number of students who have signed up to participate in an effort to set a world record at 10 a.m. on Sept. 27. That’s when nearly 5,000 West Virginia students will join others across the nation and simultaneously perform a JAMmin’ Minute routine. The one-minute fitness routines include five, very simple exercises that kids and staff can do while either standing at their desks or sitting in a chair. The student-led videos also include a simple health tip.
“Research consistently shows that children who are healthy and well nourished, perform better on standardized tests, have higher math scores and lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness,” said state Superintendent Jorea Marple. “Children are beginning to get the message about good health but we can and must do better. We have to make sure that we have intentional physical activity like the JAMmin’ Minute within the instructional day everyday for every student.”
The JAMmin’ Minute effort is part of the Let’s Move West Virginia Active Schools campaign and first lady Michelle Obama’s national Let’s Move campaign. The goal of Let’s Move is to help families and communities make healthier decisions for their kids so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. It also provides support to schools to increase the amount of daily physical activity time within each school day to hit the national recommendation of 60 minutes.
Schools participating in the world record event are encouraged to personalize efforts. Burnsville Elementary in Braxton County, for example, has invited the football team and cheerleaders from neighboring Glenville State College to JAM with them. Schools that want to participate can sign up at www.jamworldrecord.org.
West Virginia has established itself as a pioneer in promoting good nutrition and physical activity, becoming an early adopter of many requirements now included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The new federal law calls both fruits and vegetables to be offered every day; increases whole grain-rich foods; limits milk offerings to fat-free or low-fat; restricts calories and portions based on childrens’ ages; and reduces saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
Since 1994, West Virginia has included health and wellness in its goals and priorities and strengthened its nutrition standards. More fruits and vegetables were added to school meals and schools are encouraged to cook more with fresh ingredients.
Strong student health programs are especially important in West Virginia, where one in three children born today will likely develop diabetes by the time they grow up. West Virginia is consistently among the top three states for obesity with about a third of residents and about 15 percent of schoolchildren considered obese. Even more are considered overweight.
For more information, contact the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.