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Fit for Motion teaches health

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — When Cress Goodnight saw a second-grader order brown rice instead of white rice, he knew Fit for Motion had made an impression on the child.
“He told me it was more healthy,” said Goodnight, who coordinates the health and wellness education program serving a dozen Rowan-Salisbury elementary schools.
Goodnight, the assistant manager of rehabilitation medicine for Rowan Regional Medical Center, said he often sees kids in the community who have graduated from Fit for Motion. More than 900 participated this year and recently graduated.
“One even had a Fit for Motion birthday party,” he said. “They know that eating well and exercising are important.”
Fit for Motion is sponsored by Rowan Regional, Food Lion and the YMCA of Rowan County in response to the pediatric obesity epidemic.
In its third year, the program started in 2008 at three schools, then six and now 12.
The program educates children about healthy lifestyle behaviors and encourages them to become leaders.
During a Fit for Motion session, children exercise, learn about nutrition and other health topics and play games. The program is designed to help them become role models for their classmates and even family members.
Employees from the hospital and YMCA visited each school 18 times this year.
“Having professional people come and talk to them makes an impact,” Goodnight said.
Rick Parker, senior director of professional and support services at Rowan Regional, and Amanda Hesse, chief operating officer for the Rowan County YMCA, helped Goodnight coordinate the program.
“We feel like we start with these young kids and make them healthy the rest of their lives,” Goodnight said.
For graduation, each student received a certificate and athletic bag to commemorate their hard work. During the ceremony, one student selected from each class shared thoughts about what it means to be healthy.
Parents of the graduates also attended the event.
Goodnight said he hopes to expand the program in the future. Twelve elementary schools will participate next year, including China Grove, Enochville, Faith, Granite Quarry, Hurley, Isenberg, Landis, Millbridge, North Rowan, Overton, Rockwell and Shive.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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