Leon County pushes for healthy lifestyles for the new school year

Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-20 14:18:47-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--For students in Leon County the new school year also brings a new opportunity to start living a healthier lifestyle.  Leon County schools is working to do their part to help reduce child hood obesity rate in the area.

Its back to school for students eager to hit the classroom for the school year.

For grandparents like John Ficklen nutrition and health is at the top of the list every school year.

"Its very important for these kids, you got to be healthy if you're going to learn," said Ficklen.

Alan Cox, Leon County's coordinator for school health says not only are the basic math and reading courses vital to kids learning, but nutrition and exercise too.

"You definitely want to give them food that allows them to sustain energy because without that they won't last 7-8 hour day," said Cox.

Cox says fruits and vegetables are the types of foods that should be packed into kid's lunch boxes to make sure they're eating healthy.

He says not only is the food important, but activity is also key.

Cox says some students spend just a couple days a week of physical activity. County schools have at least one physical education teacher and some have more. Cox says the need is even greater.

"They need it everyday, they need physical activity everyday," said Cox.

"I remember when I was growing up games and exercise and everything outside it was pushed and it doesn't seem to be anymore," said Ficklen.

Cox suggests one way to help the issue is to first put down the sugary drinks. He says sugary drinks is the number one cause for the 35-percent child obesity rate.

"One of the big pushes is to try to stay away from sugary drink, sodas, orange juice, grape juice, all these things," said Cox.

The last thing to help students remain healthy--Cox says a push from the community will help cut down the obesity rate.