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Wellness program goes back to school(s)

A fall wellness program for employees in some Mississippi schools is helping both staff and students improve their health and performance.

In schools, the Mississippi in Motion program is sponsored by an impressive partnership of statewide agencies and organizations, including the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, the Mississippi State University Extension Service, The Bower Foundation, Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Education. From the beginning of September through November, over 500 employees in 10 school districts are participating in weekly wellness seminars and a variety of health screenings.

“We know that programs to improve the health of school employees are one more way to promote the health of Mississippi students and encourage their academic success,” says Shane McNeill, director, Office of Healthy Schools. “When students see their adult role models at school eating more fruit, drinking more water and being more physically active, they are more likely to do the same. We know that all students, from kindergarten through high school, who are well nourished, well hydrated and physically fit do better in school.”

The Mississippi in Motion program, developed by Mississippi State University Extension Service, provides health screenings and teaches participants healthy weight management and cooking skills. The weekly wellness presentations, taught by trained health educators and staff from local hospitals, cover important lifestyle topics such as heart disease and cancer awareness, stress management techniques, physical activity strategies and smoking cessation methods.

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