MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - States in the South have some of the highest obesity rates. That's why Mississippi's largest private employer is helping motivate students in Jackson County to get fit. Ingalls Shipbuilding unveiled its new "Fit Kids Initiative" in Moss Point Monday.
Students at Kreole Elementary started their school day off a bit differently. Before hitting the books, they got their bodies moving and hearts pumping with some exercise. Some Ingalls shipbuilders, along with an animated talking ship, led the workout.
"We pretended that we were actually climbing ladders on the ship. We did hoisting the flag up, and we did swabbing the deck, like real sailors do. So, we related those to exercises that the little kids were going to enjoy," Shipbuilder Ed Hagar said.
This workout is all part of Ingalls Shipbuilding's new fitness outreach program to get kids motivated to get fit.
"What we want to do to reach out the next generation of shipbuilders to encourage exercise and healthy eating. The main things is about eating vegetables and healthy fruits and getting a lot of exercise each day," Hagar said.
The students also received a Ready, Set, Go coloring book set that teaches them the importance of being active and making nutritious choices.
"There is a lot of interactive things for children; puzzles, mazes, work games, all about food choices and lifestyle habits," Ingalls official Dorothy Shaw said.
By just getting the students up and moving, they are fighting back against obesity and other major chronic disease killers in our state.
"We want Mississippi to be recognized as a fit friendly state," Shaw said. "So, we think that if we start these children that would help and they can encourage mom and dad to get healthy as well and maybe they can do these exercises together."
Ingalls officials said they plan to implement the fitness program in both Moss Point and Pascagoula schools.