Louisiana Students Take 10! To Fight Obesity

Jan Hicks, Coolman, Denise, Murphy, Ellen P., Roy, Heli J.  |  4/22/2005 11:39:52 PM

Second graders at Tensas Elementary School in Northeast Louisiana are fighting childhood obesity, thanks to the LSU AgCenter and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The children are among those taking part in Take 10! – a program that addresses overweight and obesity problems in children by focusing on the implementation of comprehensive, school-based nutrition and physical activity routines. The project is funded in the Delta Region of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi by a $1.57 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

News Release Distributed 2/18/04

Students in Judy O’Neal and Daina Jackson’s second-grade classes at Tensas Elementary School in St. Joseph are taking a portion of their day to fight childhood obesity thanks to the LSU AgCenter and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The students are among those taking part in a variety of educational programs related to nutrition and health offered by the LSU AgCenter across Louisiana.

In this case, they are participating in Take 10! – a program that addresses overweight and obesity problems in children by focusing on the implementation of comprehensive, school-based nutrition and physical activity routines.

The program was made possible by a $1.57 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg foundation that funds a five-year research and educational program on obesity in the Mississippi River Delta Region of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The Take 10! program uses 10 minutes of class time to let the children exercise, said Dr. Jan Hicks, an LSU AgCenter program coordinator, adding that exercises are not done during every class.

"For example, the students can do jumping jacks and repeat their multiplication tables – or other educational facts," Hicks said. "By doing this, they are reviewing their studies and exercising at the same time."

O’Neal and Jackson praise the program, which they just started in their classrooms.

"The first day, we did squats," O’Neal said. "The students were so sore when they came to school the next day they knew they had exercised! This is going to help with the childhood obesity problem."

Jackson agreed.

"It also allows the students to exercise and release some energy," she said. "And students in the second grade have a lot of energy!"

The Take 10! program uses a set of characters known as the OrganWise Guys, as well as other educational materials such as books, videos and CDs, to teach children about important health issues, said Dr. Heli Roy of the LSU AgCenter’s School of Human Ecology.

"This is a wonderful program," Roy said. "It teaches about important health issues, and it’s easy for children to understand."

In addition to Tensas Elementary, other Louisiana schools participating in the program are Wright Elementary and Tallulah Elementary in Madison Parish; Delhi Elementary, Rayville Elementary and Mangham Elementary in Richland Parish, and Newellton Elementary and Lisbon Elementary in Tensas Parish.

Organizers say the program could extend into other parishes later.

"The LSU AgCenter has come up with a statewide plan to fight childhood obesity, and one of the goals in that plan is to work closely with young people to educate them about the importance of taking care of their bodies," said Dr. Ellen Murphy, associate director of the LSU AgCenter’s School of Human Ecology. "Our goal is to educate young people about eating more healthfully and increasing physical activity."

Others participating in the grant-funded project with Take 10! include the Mississippi State University Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and other state agencies in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

For more information on this and other health-related topics, as well as a variety of other information on subjects ranging from lawns and gardens to family life, visit www.lsuagcenter.com, or contact your parish LSU AgCenter office.

Take 10! is a program developed by Wellness Inc.

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Contacts: 
            Jan Hicks at (318) 435-2903 or jhicks@agcenter.lsu.edu
            Ellen Murphy at (225) 578-6794 or emurphy@agcenter.lsu.edu
            Heli Roy at (225) 578-4486 or hroy@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer: 
            A. Denise Coolman at (318) 644-5865 or dcoolman@agcenter.lsu.edu

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