Mid-Missouri students talk about new health habits in schools

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MOBERLY - With the school year coming to an end, many mid-Missouri students are talking about what health changes worked and did not work for them.

The Moberly School District took on the challenge to reduce childhood obesity by 5 percent in the next five years, and it is started with simple tasks like exercise breaks, walks and runs and swapping candy rewards for things like stickers. 

Fifth grader Jamie Ancell said she likes to exercise after school rather than just go home.

"I would not run if it were not for this because I did not want to do it at first, but then I realized it was fun," Ancell said. "Everybody was motivating and told me I was a good runner."

Gabe Goff, another fifth grader, said this is preparing him for sports teams in middle school.

"I first started at running club because I did a whole bunch of sports, and I needed to be faster to be better," Goff said. "It is good, and I feel good doing it."

Like Moberly Public Schools, Jefferson City Public Schools has also taken on the challenge of breaking bad habits. 

Becky Phenenger, wellness and safety coordinator, said the number of participants in events like those that involve cardio challenges have increased. 

Laura Heimann, wellness coordinator in Moberly, said support is needed, especially when the staff is involved.

"Most of the buildings in the district have a wellness program, so they are trying to increase healthy behaviors for staff as well," Heimann said. "They do it in six to eight week sessions and have things like the biggest loser and a walking club."

Heimann said this is a way for teachers to serve as role models for the children.