Annual summit educates youth about obesity, healthy living

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Selma teens got a few tips on how to eat and live healthier as part of the annual Teen Summit held Friday at Wallace Community College-Selma.

The Selma Links Inc. sponsors the summit. The Links has been educating teens for more than a decade.

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Sewell cited statistics that place Alabama high on the list of states with high rates of obesity and Dallas County as one the most obese counties in the state.

A report published in 2007 by the non-profit organization Trust for America&8217;s Health stated Alabama had the third highest obesity rate in the nation with 29.4 percent of adults obese. The state had the 11th highest rate of obesity among youth ages 11-17 with 16.7 percent obese. Leading the nation were West Virginia in second place and Mississippi in first place.

The summit included &8220;breakout sessions&8221; where teens went to different classrooms and listened to a speaker on various health-related topics that covered portion sizes, exercise, diabetes, the effects of smoking and tobacco use, and HIV/AIDS.

Even lunchtime served as a lesson on health. Teens ate submarine sandwiches and drank juice for lunch.

Students especially enjoyed a step show held as part of the summit. Called &8220;steppercising,&8221; the show featured calisthenics-based steps performed by teams representing Delta G.E.M.S., African Knights, the Kappa League and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Culturama step team.

Brandon Pinckney, an eighth-grader at C.H.A.T. Academy enjoyed the step show.

Participating schools included Prattville High, Dallas County High, Selma High, C.H.A.T. Academy, Southside High and Central Christian Academy.