Battle Creek Enquirer
Written by Justin A. Hinkley
Huffing and puffing, sneakers slapping the pavement, T.J. Andersen worked to get fit and make his mind more ready to lear. Andersen, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Battle Creek Academy, was one of about two dozen people walking the one-mile loop around Leila Arboretum on Sunday for "Let's Move Day," an effort of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church's North America Division to encourage healthy lifestyles. Nicole Mattson, a spokeswoman for Sunday's event and a teacher at the Seventh-Day Adventist-affiliated private school, said the church planned the event in response to First Lady Michelle Obama's charge for Americans to battle childhood obesity. Churches and schools across the country were inviting students and church families to walk, run or bike and log their miles traveled toward a collective goal of one million miles.
In addition to the obvious physical benefits of the effort, Mattson said Battle Creek Academy believes physical health can lead to spiritual and mentalhealth that can make for better students and adults. And, logging in his miles on Sunday, Andersen said he agreed. "If you're not (healthy), it affects your attitude and your lifestyle," the boy said. "Being active refreshes your mind and makes you more ready to learn." Asked what kind of impact physical health had on academic success, Mattson said: "Huge." "How else can a teacher put that?" she said. "We know the kids that are not eating breakfast and we know the ones that had Froot Loops for breakfast ... If they're eating well, they're going to be rested and performing to their highest mental ability."
In addition to the million-mile effort, the church and its schools hoped to focus on healthy diets and community engagement, according to a news release from Battle Creek Academy. Mattson said, even without Michelle Obama, the efforts fit in with the Seventh-Day Adventists' charge.
"God created us and he wants our bodies to be a temple," she said. "We need to be able to carry out his work."