Summer food & fun for Hancock County kids

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County School District is doing its part to combat childhood obesity during the summer break from school. Something new has been added to the school district's summer feeding program to give students the exercise nutritionists say they need.

They had fun Wednesday morning learning to play the growing sport of disc golf.

"We've been looking for different activities to kind of keep our kids healthy and activity during the summer," said disc golf instructor Dale McVeay.

Disc golf is very similar to the game of golf, but instead of balls, a Frisbee is used. And players target disc catchers, not holes.

"We want to keep these kids active. We teach them the right things to do during the school year. We're teaching them to eat healthy, to get that hour, at least, of exercise each day. But during the summer, we know a lot of them have a tendency to go curl up in front of the TV and play video games," McVeay said.

So now, activity is being served up along with a healthy meal.

"It's really important that they get the nutrition that they need, plus the physical activities that they need to grow and develop their minds and bodies," explained Laura Bounds, the school district's Child Nutrition Director.

She said adding exercise to the feeding program will help these children stay in shape. And visiting experts are reinforcing that message.

"On Thursdays, we are actually having the Navy come in and do physical training with them," said Bounds.

Wednesday's activity proved to be a big hit with the students. Sixth grader Angel Navarro said he had a ball, even without a ball.

"I really liked it," he said. "It's kind of like basketball, but you have to, like, shoot the Frisbee in the basket."

Fifth grader Pam Morel agreed.

"It's fun and it's a good exercise," she said.

And that's a belief the experts hope will stay with them for a lifetime.

A $10,000 state Department of Education grant is funding the programs which are being offered at East and South Hancock Elementary Schools.

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