BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Health officials in our area are dealing with a large problem. In a recently released county health assessment, Brunswick County came in above the state average for childhood obesity rates.
County health officials say the best way to solve the problem is through education. So, one enthusiastic teacher in Brunswick County is making it his mission to keep kids active.
Nick Westfall's fourth graders at Virginia Williamson Elementary School were working on their shooting skills in a game of "Hula Hut Basketball" when we visited the school on Wednesday.
Childhood obesity is a tough subject, but Westfall's philosophy on prevention is simple; keep kids active by setting a good example.
"We have to be models, if we want our kids to be healthy," said Westfall. "They need the people they look up to to be healthy as well."
Another interesting thing about Westfall's class is that when students leave the gym, the lesson doesn't stop. He actually sends them off with activities to do at home.
"If you say P.E. homework, it sounds silly, like it's a joke, you don't hear that a lot," said Westfall. "But you have to find something they enjoy. Practicing at home is one of the main things and we need parents on board to help just as if they were helping with reading."
At the end of each class, there are still plenty of questions from the students. So, Westfall gathers the group together for one last reminder of what they learned.
Westfall is also responsible for several programs outside of school to keep kids active. In addition to forming the "Sole Sisters" after school running program, Westfall is organizing a free 5K this spring geared towards children. For more information: http://on.fb.me/1bixS0m
While childhood obesity rates are above average, the Brunswick County Deputy Health Director, Fred Michael says the numbers are on the decline.