Selma City Schools fight fat epidemic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In an effort to fight the growing obesity rate and numerous health problems among children, the Selma City School System is working towards implementing a program that would encourage physical fitness as part of the daily curriculum.

The Wellness and Fitness program, introduced during the Selma City School Board meeting last week, would make exercise and diet a priority in the school system.

“We’re doing this in conjunction with Senator Hank Sanders and Wallace Community College Selma,” said Superintendent Dr. James Carter. “This program is going to address the problem of obesity in Dallas County and the cost of obesity and adult diseases, like diabetes, in children.”

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Part of the Wellness and Fitness program will be to change the menus in school cafeterias in order to provide more nutritious and healthy food choices.

The school system also plans to enhance physical activity among students by promoting exercise along with time spent on the playground.

“We are going to have a structured exercise program to help the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system and burn calories,” Carter said.

Carter said teaching children about good health habits is not only important for their overall wellbeing, but also to protect their future.

“This generation will be the first to not outlive their parents,” Carter said. “We need to do something to encourage good health.”

Carter said a committee has already been established to lay the groundwork for the program, and he hopes to have all the details complete by January.

“We are going to start by selecting some schools for study groups and control groups and see what impact the program is going to have,” Carter said “If it has a positive impact, it could become a model that school systems across the state could develop.”

The Wellness and Fitness program will likely be implemented in city schools by February.

Other items discussed during last week’s school board meeting include approval to spend at least 20 percent At-Risk Funds with C.H.A.S.A.M., 21st Century, SCOPE, Clinton Chapel, and the Boys and Girls Club.

The board also approved the implementation of the Early College High School Program in January.