OXFORD, Miss. - Nationally, more than nine million children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and the state of Mississippi has the highest percentage of any state in the country, which led the Ole Miss Athletics Department to create the "Move Mississippi" initiative.
The program seeks to educate youth and parents about the benefits of physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle by imparting positive messages on character virtues and life skills development.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools, approximately 40 percent of Mississippi children are obese and around 74 percent are deemed unfit.
Members of the Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams will lead the first fitness clinic with local youth Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the Boys and Girls Club of Oxford.
Men's basketball players participating in Wednesday's program include Nick Williams, Jarvis Summers, Aaron Jones and Martavious Newby. They will be joined by women's basketball team members Courtney Marbra, Amber Singletary and Gracie Frizzell.
"We are extremely excited about this program and utilizing our sports programs to influence our youth and community to be physically active," said Assistant Athletics Director Jamil Northcutt. "Sports provide our youth an opportunity to have fun, exercise and compete. We believe this program has the capacity to not only impact obesity in the state of Mississippi but the entire country."
Future programs will spread to area schools and include Rebel student-athletes and coaches from other sports.
"Move Mississippi," is a component of the Rebels Kids Club and is featured on the new Rebels Kids Club website, rebelkidsclub.com. The interactive site provides fitness and healthy eating tips for the entire family. Children can see how they stack up against other kids as well as their own family members on the site's leader board.
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