All month long, students at Fort Rucker Primary School are learning how to keep a healthy heart during the school’s observance of American Heart Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
The month of February, also known as American Heart Month, is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and teaching ways to prevent it.
Nurse Debbie Doggett and special area teachers at Fort Rucker Primary School believe it is important to start teaching young children how to keep a healthy heart with diet and exercise.
“They’ve already developed eating habits, and if they can learn when they’re young what the important things are to keep their bodies healthy then hopefully they’ll carry that on throughout their lifestyle,” Doggett said.
During the entire month, special area teachers are collaborating and adding their own emphasis to teaching the topic of maintaining a healthy heart to the kindergarteners and first graders.
Doggett said in the media center the students are reading books about the subject matter, in music class they are singing songs and in P.E. they are exercising and performing special dances.
On Feb. 5, kindergarten students gathered in the gymnasium at the school and learned a quick lesson about the heart and what it does before dancing the chicken dance and cha-cha slide.
Doggett also showed the students how the heart contracts like a muscle using a clear balloon filled with red watercolor.
“We have to exercise our hearts to keep it strong,” she said.
Doggett said the main thing she wants the children to understand is eating healthy foods and exercise will help them grow and keep their bodies strong.
Kindergarten student Jackson Ford seems to already understand the concept.
“You should only get a little bit (of TV) and you should get a lot of exercise,” he said. “(You should) go to the park and play and ride your bike because it’s heart healthy. Healthy foods (like) tomatoes, lettuce, apples, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are also important.”
During the Feb. 5 activity, students also signed a huge heart on the wall of the gymnasium and pledged to work on keeping a healthy heart.
The students also presented the staff of Lyster Preventive Medicine with small heart cutouts for the purpose of decorating a tree in the clinic with hearts for National Women’s Healthy Heart Month.