Originally published Nov. 7, 2011
In an effort to address obesity and physical activity among students in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative partnered with the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders and the Georgia State University dance team to observe Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September. More than 500 students participated in the Let's Move/“Move Your Body” dance performance at Arbor Springs Elementary School, Buchanan Elementary School, Chestnut Mountain Elementary School, Lewis Fraiser Middle School, Harper-Archer Middle School, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy High School, and Lithonia High School.
Originally performed by pop music star Beyoncé, students performed Move Your Body in front of the student body, teachers, and parents to promote physical activity through dance.
"It was encouraging to see how excited the students were during their performance,” said Monica Barnett, Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator, Health Promotion Disease Prevention Programs, Georgia Department of Public Health. “They were having fun while being physically active and that's what it's about. Physical activity should be fun so that everyone will participate more to be healthier."
Children and adolescents at the event were encouraged to make healthier food choices and to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. Adults at the event were also encouraged to be positive role models for children by being physically active and making healthier food choices so that children will follow in their footsteps.
In addition to watching the students perform, audience members participated in dancing to the Cha Cha Slide, Electric Slide, and Cupid Shuffle. Let's Move participants even taught the Move Your Body dance to their supporters, as well.
"It is amazing how something as fun as dancing can get people out of their seats and moving. Everyone had a great time and many expressed a desire to continue toward adopting a healthier lifestyle,” Barnett said.
The Let's Move challenge is one of many events that Georgia schools participated in to observe Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to prepare for the Georgia S.H.A.P.E. fitness assessment that is currently being implemented in schools statewide. The health and well being of Georgians is a priority for DPH and obesity prevention is a focus area of the Department and the nation.