W.Va. Schools Leading Change for Healthier Lifestyles

April 19, 2007

CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ West Virginia students are leading the change towards healthier lifestyles. They will celebrate their healthy choices on Friday, April 20 at 1 p.m. at Stonewall Resort near Roanoke, W.Va., with project demonstrations, poster displays and other activities.  

Student teams from Cabell Midland High School, Huntington High, Clay County Middle/High, Greenbrier East High, Moorefield High, Lincoln County High, University High, James Monroe High and Tygarts Valley High will participate.  

Last fall, each school received a $9,400 U.S. Team Nutrition Training grant through the West Virginia Department of Education. The money was to be used to create Student Health Action Councils (SHACs) to advocate, educate and role model practices that lead to healthier lives.  

“This is just one of the many ways we are fighting the battle of the bulge,” said state Schools Superintendent Steve Paine. “Childhood obesity has come to an epidemic level in West Virginia and we are doing what we can in the schools to teach healthier lifestyles and good nutrition.”  

One in three West Virginia children born today will likely develop diabetes by adulthood. The state is consistently among the top three states for obesity with about a third of its residents considered obese and more considered overweight, according to the state Bureau of Public Health.  

The West Virginia Board of Education recognizes this challenge and that’s why it has embraced innovative programs to improve the health and wellness of West Virginia’s youth. The board last year issued a position statement, placing a priority on good health and reducing childhood obesity in West Virginia.  

State policy prohibits the sale of sodas in elementary and middle schools and requires only healthy drinks be sold. It also prohibits the sale of candy or chewing gum and limits what is sold in vending machines and when they can be turned so that they don’t interfere with school lunches.  

For more information, contact Rick Goff, executive director for the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition, at (304) 558-2708, or the Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.  

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