Morning Stroll: East Side walks to school to celebrate Child Health Week

Published 5:42 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Elizabethton City Schools is walking in step with a 20-year tradition to promote healthy lifestyles for students.
Students, parents and teachers from East Side Elementary walked together Wednesday morning from Cat Island Park to school to celebrate International Walk & Bike to School Day, in conjunction with Tennessee Child Health Week. East Side is one of the three elementary schools in the district that will participate in the initiative.
With the first ever walk to school day taking place in 1997, ECS Coordinated School Health Director John Hutchins said the system always enjoys the opportunity to participate.
“It’s the 20th year of the event and we’ve been doing it in the district since I’ve been here,” Hutchins said. “The walk is a great way to promote walking and healthy living to our students, and what better way is there than to start with a walk to school?”
Hutchins credited the work of Regina Wilder, Coordinator School Health coordinator, for helping spearhead the program, along with activity-related events, and working alongside each of the elementary school and bus drivers to coordinate the Walk to School Day.
Healthy living starts at the elementary school-level, Hutchins said. ECS participates in a variety of activities to encourage the young population of the school to participate in healthy activities, ranging from the “Morning Mile” at West Side Elementary, to Girls on the Run clubs and GoNoodle at each of the elementaries.
“The state has really made a push to encourage healthy lifestyles,” said Hutchins. “There’s mandated time for physical activity and we want to have different options available for students to have fun and stay active.”
Governor Bill Haslam proclaimed October 1-7 as Child Health Week in the state and the Tennessee Department of Health and Department of Education have partnered to help raise awareness for youth physical activity.
“We recognize the work of partners and communities across the state in making Tennessee a great place for children,” said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD, in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star. “We encourage every business, every policymaker and every resident to think of one thing they can do this week to improve the health of infants, children and adolescents as that impact will last a lifetime.”
One of the fruits from the partnership includes the new Active Students, Active Learners initiative. Jaime Lawson, public health educator at the Carter County Health Department, said the resource is a fun way for school-aged students and family members to get involved with physical activity. Individuals can visit to learn different exercises, positive impacts of staying healthy and ways to get involved within the community.
West Side Elementary is participating in the walk Friday while Harold McCormick will make their stroll to school Thursday of next week.

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