Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education Kathleen Wack was selected as a 2016 “Healthy School Hero” by Action for Health Kids, a large, national non-profit organization. Only 12 national heroes were selected.
Action for Healthy Kids® fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives, according to their website.
Wack cultivates partnerships between area schools and WLU to benefit both K-12 and college students studying to become professional educators. The WLU students gain experience with local schools, including hosting field trips to the university, planning and executing family fitness nights, teaching integrated movement in the classroom curricula and providing physical activity and physical education to a variety of audiences.
Wack’s family fun nights at West Liberty Elementary School during Every Kid Healthy Week were very successful. One night was dubbed West Liberty on Wheels and students could ride bicycles, scooters, skateboards or rollerblade on a closed course, all while exploring important safety concepts at stations throughout the course.
Another big hit was Dance through the Decades night, during which students from each grade level dressed in different period costumes from the 1950s to the 2000s. The kids led students from other grades, along with parents and grandparents, in popular dances from each decade.
Wack acknowledges that West Virginia is one of the unhealthiest states by many health indicators, including obesity rates. However, she believes that schools are the ideal place to reverse these trends and that a healthy school environment is the first line of defense in combatting obesity.
“This is what I have dedicated my professional career toward and I’m pleased that my work aligns with the vision and mission of Action for Healthy Kids. I am grateful for this organization’s support of my projects through advocacy, funding, newsletters, webinars, and its grant program,” Wack said.
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