BCBS promotes health and fitness for students

Fourth grader Raeley Barkley places a tennis ball on a traffic cone for one of the activities presented by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Get Ready to Run School Program at Henderson Ward-Stewart Elementary School Friday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi began its Get Ready to Run School program in the Golden Triangle and surrounding area with a student event at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School on Friday.

Students participated in an activity involving running down the gym court, placing a tennis ball on top of a traffic cone and stacking cups on top of each other.

This activity helps establish better concentration, hand-eye coordination and fitness.

Health and Fitness Coordinator for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Eugenia King said the group’s main goal of this program is to encourage students to be physically active and to promote healthy lifestyle habits.

“One thing we do know is that the healthier students are, the better they perform in the classroom,” King said.

She said the child’s performance in the classroom will not only benefit the student, but also the overall success of the school.

“Kids are very impressionable, so they are learning things they can take home and talk to their parents about as well as their siblings,” King said. “Reaching the kids at this age helps them to develop those habits, which can affect their health as they get older.”

Students will receive a free curriculum with seven lessons teaching students proper running techniques, setting goals and eating healthy.

King said they wanted to incorporate fun and stress-free activities to help promote fitness, because students respond better when it doesn’t feel like an obligation.

When students at a young age engage in physical fitness, King said the more alert they are when they go back to the classroom along with overall wellness.

“You want it to be fun, you don’t want it to seem like a chore for them to do,” King said. “You want to incorporate fun activities that will get them excited about wanting to come to P.E. and taking those lessons home and wanting to be outside where they can be physically active.”

Twenty-eight schools around the Golden Triangle have signed up to participate, which will reach more than 12,600 students. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi are preparing the students for the Get Ready to Run Kids’ One-Mile Fun Run on Mississippi State University’s campus on April 14.

The top three schools with the most students to cross the finish line based on the percentage of their student population will be awarded up to $2,000 to help purchase equipment for their physical education program.

“Their body will feel better, their mind will be better, so that’s just overall a plus for our future Mississippians.”