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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2008

More Rankin County Schools Celebrate Walkin'

Marsha Barbour Joins Celebration
Courtesy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi

Rankin County elementary schools celebrated their role as pilot schools for the Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi program on Thursday, April 24 during a 10:00 a.m. ceremony at Northwest Rankin High School where $25,000 was awarded to schools by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. The schools were among 33 schools statewide to participate in the pilot program.

“I’m so proud of these students and the commitment their school is making to good health. Students improved their health by walking, and they learned to make exercise a regular part of their day,” said First Lady Marsha Barbour, who has promoted the walking program statewide and participated in Thursday’s celebration. “It is through physical activity like walking that Mississippi will improve its overall health status.”

Photo of Marsha Barbour
The presentation of a check for $5,000 to Pelahatchie Elementary.

As more than 900 students entered the Northwest Rankin High School Performing Arts Building, they were greeted by the Northwest Rankin High School Band, cheerleaders and athletes. The 10:00 a.m. ceremony included speakers from schools, the school district office and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Northwest Rankin High School is located at 5085 Hwy. 25 in Flowood. Earlier this week, nine other Rankin County Elementary schools were recognized in a similar ceremony at Brandon High School.

Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi has had several successes:

  • More than 30 schools and their 18,000 students took part in the pilot school program of Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi. Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi is recognized as a “model physical fitness program” by the State Department of Education.
  • More than 100,000 Mississippians, about 3% of the state’s residents, have now received pedometers and informational material through the program.
  • Seventeen community walks were held in cities around the state in 2007, attracting more than 3,000 walkers, and more are being scheduled for 2008.
  • TV ads promoting walking provided 90 million media impressions throughout the state.

Because of its successful local school pilot project, the Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi program will expand statewide during the 2008-2009 school year to encourage walking among more students and communities.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi promotes walking through the Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi program as a part of a healthier lifestyle that includes eating healthy, exercising, being tobacco-free and knowing your numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.

“If people adopt these health practices as part of a healthier lifestyle, they will make a long-term improvement in their health,” said John Sewell, spokesman for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. “We encourage people to work with their healthcare providers to develop a plan for a healthier life. They will create a healthier life and a healthier Mississippi.”

The past president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Ed Hill of Tupelo, works to educate people about the health benefits of exercise. “Think of some disease that exercise doesn’t improve – you can’t think of one,” Dr. Hill says. “Hypertension, heart disease, cholesterol, cancer even – so the importance of exercise cannot be overemphasized. It’s one aspect of good health, but it’s the most important aspect.”

Pisgah elementary receives $5000 check
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