MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A local pediatrician has partnered with a Myrtle Beach middle school to teach the students about the benefits of being active. A new tool shows if students are achieving their fitness goals.
The educators and students at Ocean Bay Middle School have an opportunity to take on a healthier lifestyle. Donated by the Little River Medical Center, the school received 1,500 step meters to give to the students and teachers.
Maddie Stevens, a 7th grader at Ocean Bay, said she has already seen her classmates step up their game to get active. " A lot of people have been up in class and running in place to get more steps," Maddie said.
Getting active was the focus of the student assembly Wednesday morning. A few of the educators gave the students a glimpse of what "getting active" looks like as they opened up assembly with a dance skit to the "Whip Nae Nae" song.
This week the students received their step meters to help them learn what it means to be more active. Local pediatrician, Dr. Orlando Valdez, has partnered with the school to teach them more about healthier habits.
"We continue to not tell them how active they are supposed to be, so now that we have these step meters it will allow the students to know when we make recommendations about activity, we can put the step meters on to help the children have that level of activity, and know what it feels like to be that active," the doctor explained.
Valdez was the guest at the student assembly who tried to motivate them to set goals with their step meters. "I was at recess before the assembly, and a lot of my friends were trying to run around the to get their steps up and I thought that was really cool," said Leona Zimmerman, a 6th grader at Ocean Bay.
Valdez is also helping the students learn about nutrition and food intake. "We are working with the school to teach the children what a serving of fruit and vegetable should look like, what a serving of whole grain should look like, and taking the serving information and helping them develop diet patterns," he said.
According to Dr. Valdez, South Carolina currently ranks 2nd in the country for childhood obesity, behind the state of Mississippi.
The 2011 South Carolina Obesity Burden Report has the Palmetto State childhood obesity rate at 25.5%, a major concern for Valdez.
He said, "We know that children that are healthy actually have a much lower chance of developing early heart disease, but also some of the metabolic diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes."
The report also states that in 2009 $1.2 billion was spent due to obesity in South Carolina; that number is expected to increase to $5.3 billion in 2018.
Valdez said it is imperative the community teach students now in order to prevent a serious issue in the future. "5.3 billion is an underestimate, and if we don't get a handle on some of these costs by working with our kids to change this, it's going to be something the state of South Carolina just can not afford."