Valdosta Daily Times

September 27, 2013

Lowndes County schools win SHAPE fitness awards

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Gov. Nathan Deal announced the winners of the SHAPE Honor Roll program earlier this month. At the Lowndes Board of Education meeting Monday night, Lowndes school system’s winners were honored for their wins.

Lowndes’ 2012-2013 SHAPE awards recipients are Westside Elementary School, Pine Grove Elementary School, Lowndes Middle School and Lowndes High School.

Schools across the state were measured based on three criteria: physical activity, nutrition and wellness. All of the schools met the benchmark measurements in all three categories at their respected levels; either gold, silver or bronze.

Westside Elementary School and Pine Grove Elementary School received a gold-level win. They were two of only 37 elementary schools across the state to win at the gold level.

Lowndes Middle School received a silver-level win. It was one of only 13 middle schools in the state to win at the silver level.

Lowndes High School received a gold-level win. It was one of only two high schools in the state to win at the gold level.

In an attempt to fight childhood obesity, Deal launched Georgia’s SHAPE partnership in May 2011. This partnership promotes childhood fitness and builds a culture of wellness among Georgia youth. In Lowndes County, physical-education teachers have been stepping up their game in an attempt to be a part of the SHAPE Honor Roll and to help fight childhood obesity.

When the SHAPE program was announced, Deal shared these words on obesity and the SHAPE program, “Georgia has one of the worst rates of childhood obesity in the nation. We know that childhood obesity decreases academic performance, increases the chances of sickness and disease and shortens life expectancy. We face a health-care crisis in Georgia resulting from poor diets and lack of exercise, and if current trends continue, we may be raising the first generation of children in our state who are expected to have shorter life spans than their parents. More than one in five Georgia kids ages 10 to 17 are obese. Among low-income kids ages 2 to 4, about one in eight are already obese. The health-care price tag for childhood obesity in Georgia is $2.4 billion annually, and rising.

“That’s the bad news. The good news is that this problem is fixable. The SHAPE partnership is an innovative approach to getting Georgia kids fit and on a path to healthy living. This puts our state on the leading edge of innovation in addressing this health problem, as we are one of three states putting a laser-like focus on fitness measures. SHAPE allows students to measure their own progress in physical fitness, and it puts the power of competition into effect as schools jockey for recognition and equipment grants through the Governor’s Fitness Honor Roll.”