Middle School Students Accept "Get In Shape" Challenge

Hundreds of Gulfport children may be headed toward healthier, more active lifestyles, thanks to a national fitness competition.

"Verb: Make Every Move Count" encourages young people to walk, dance, play or do whatever "verb" that gets them moving. Central Middle school is one of ten across the country taking part.

Central Middle School students started with plenty of pep in their step on Monday, but the question was how much energy would they have about half way through their walk around campus?

Jacob Daquroag wasn't even tired. He said walking was "better than being in school."

For some of the 6th, 7th and 8th graders the walk was just another one of their many physical activities. Devon Gist plays "basketball and baseball and cheers."

Still others admit they're inclined to a more relaxed lifestyle.

To open students eyes to the benefits of healthy living, teachers have turned to a fitness campaign called "VERB".

"We have a high African American population," said 6th grade science teacher Natasha Mays. "They have a high increase of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in this age group. We're trying to curb that and get them out of a sedentary lifestyle in front of the Nintendo games."

Teachers hope that encouraging students to step out of their comfort zones will make them want a better workout routine. During this week Central Middle school students will use special devices to keep track of how much they exercise. Along with walking, they'll also play soccer and golf and do some line dancing.