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Tunica 4-H club gets moving to lose weight
By Kaitlyn Byrne
MSU Ag Communications
MMISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tunica County 4-H is striving to help kids and teens achieve healthier lifestyles through a new program called Move to Lose.
Ebony Jones, Tunica County 4-H agent, started the Move to Lose program in September after she saw an interest in a healthier lifestyle among her 4-H’ers.
“A lot of the kids would ask me about ways they could exercise and improve their diets and their overall health, so I decided we needed a structured program to help with that,” she said. “I wanted to be able to provide them with the information and support they needed to make positive changes for their health.”
Jones said Tunica County 4-H partnered with Tunica County Parks and Recreation to allow Move to Lose participants to exercise as a group with a trainer at the Tunica Health and Wellness Center. The group does water aerobics and cardio workout sessions on alternating weekdays.
Jones said the program requires participants to keep a food journal to monitor what they eat.
“The kids write down everything they eat so we can discuss it and talk about what is healthy and what isn’t. It really helps them stay on track when they have to explain why they ate certain things,” she said. “We watch calories, but we don’t necessarily do diets. We focus on lifestyle changes.”
Charity Womack, a 4-H senior at Rosa Fort High School, has lost 74 pounds since September with the Move to Lose program.
Womack said Move to Lose gave her the motivation she needed to stick to a healthy lifestyle.
“Because of Move to Lose, I now have people on my side to help me lose weight, and they ask me questions to hold me accountable,” she said. “It really helped to have a group of people supporting me like that.”
Jones said Womack went above and beyond the expectations of the program.
“Most of the kids go to the workout twice a week, but Charity did double time,” Jones said. “Charity would go with me to exercise every day after work. She’s very enthusiastic and dedicated to having a healthier lifestyle, and that’s what the program is all about.”
Womack said she was hesitant to join the program at first, but Jones encouraged her to give it a try.
“I really thought about not doing it because I wasn’t sure if I could stick with it, but Mrs. Ebony gave me so much motivation to just give it a shot,” she said. “She helps push me to keep going and stay on track.”
Womack said Move to Lose has helped change her life, and she wants to encourage her peers to make healthy decisions, too.
“If someone’s having doubts about getting started with an exercise plan, I would tell them to just go out and do what they have to do,” she said. “Push forward, and if you all work together, you can achieve great results. Having support is a big help.”