NFL player visits Whiteville school to promote healthy living - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

NFL player visits Whiteville school to promote healthy living

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Ben Hartsock of the Carolina Panthers was the special guest at a pep rally at Central Middle School in Whiteville Thursday. His visit was part of a program called Fuel Up to Play 60. Ben Hartsock of the Carolina Panthers was the special guest at a pep rally at Central Middle School in Whiteville Thursday. His visit was part of a program called Fuel Up to Play 60.

WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) – A day after Columbus County was named the least healthy county in the state for the 5th year in a row, a star athlete visited a middle school there to promote healthy eating and fitness.

Ben Hartsock of the Carolina Panthers was the special guest at a pep rally at Central Middle School in Whiteville Thursday. His visit was part of a program called Fuel Up to Play 60.

"You fuel up with healthy foods and then you're able to be active 60 minutes a day," said 7th grade teacher Mandy Smith, who is the school's Fuel Up to Play 60 advisor.

Hartsock presented school officials with a $15,000 check – a prize for a national YouTube contest intended to encourage students to get active. Central entered a video of a flash mob descending on one of the school's hallways.

Following the pep rally, students flooded outside the gym to enjoy smoothies, fruit kabobs, Zumba and yoga.

"If we can teach our kids at this young age that they need to be healthy. They need to be active and eat healthy foods; then we will be able to turn around that negative connotation that we have on our county," Smith said.

Health and fitness isn't just a one-day push at Central.

Smith explained the school's initiatives include a new walking club and a 5K run schedule for May.

On mobile? Watch the YouTube video here: http://bit.ly/1dzru9A

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