Julia Roberts Goad
Members of the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition (MCDC) hosted a tour and roundtable to share the programs the group is implementing to fight the disease with officials from state and federal agencies.
Earl Gohl, Federal Co-Chair and Eric Stockton, Health Program Manager with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Dr. Ann Albright Director of Diabetes Control and Pat Thompson-Reid, Community-Based Systems Specialist with the Center for Disease Control, Gina Wood with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program of the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health and Phil Lewis, a representative with Sen. Rockefeller’s office, toured site in the county where the MCDC has programs.
One of the stops on the tour was the Lenore K-8 School, which is participating in the Take 10 Health Challenge.
The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of obesity and pre-diabetes in young people by increasing physical activity and teaching healthier eating habits.
Students in eighth grade physical education programs received a pedometer and will work at increasing their daily physical activity by monitoring their daily stepped. Various activities are
planned throughout the eight week program that includes both physical activity and mini-lectures.
Students are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps a day, or roughly five miles.
Each week, students earn lottery tickets by recording their steps and food journaling. At the end of the program, prizes will be awarded including iPod shuffles and movie tickets. Students will also receive prizes for participating.
Eddie May and David Ledger, Physical Education teachers at Lenore K-8, and eighth grade students Chelsea Spurlock and Ethan Mullins spoke about the Take 10 program.
Ethan said that while he does not make the 10,000 each day, his activity has increased. Both students said the sense of competition is a strong part of the program.
“I usually do about five or six thousand steps a day,” he said. “We do brag about it.
“It is a competition,” Chelsea said. “I walk three miles a day out of my hollow, walking my dog, some of my classmates are jealous.”
Chelsea and Ethan both have grandparents with diabetes, and said they were working to avoid the disease.
“My grandfather had diabetes, he was diagnosed when he was little,” Ethan said. “He really didn’t care about it, and now he has had to have his toe removed.”
David Ledger said, as a Health teacher, he has discussed the importance of physical education.
He said when he first came to the school, PE students were reluctant to exercise.
“The kids didn’t want to play,” Ledger said. “They just sat down. I said, we are going to continue to move.”
He said one class is working toward running a 5K run.
“We have a program to train to run a 5K,” Ledger said. “We have about 45 kids in the class. Here at school, after we complete the class, we are going to mark off (5K) here at school, and let them run that.”
All the teachers involved said they try to work health and fitness into their classes.
Ethan said the students, while competing against each other, are also a support group.
“When we go outside to play football, some of the kids who are not in shape get a pain in their side, they want to stop,” he said. “We tell them, c’mon, c’mon, they start playing a little longer.”