Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Heart Health February 17, 2014

Filed under: Body Walk,Health — mississippibodywalk @ 4:04 PM
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Hello Body Walkers,

I need something to call you, and since this is the Body Walk Blog, and you are (hopefully) a fan, it seemed natural that you would be a Body Walk-er. Welcome to the expanded blog, where I will be sharing more with you than just recaps of the program, and where the exhibit has traveled.

Body Walk presents many wonderful health lessons. The hope is the listener, after hearing the lessons, the learner will internalize the messages and make better health choices. So, another way to internalize health lessons is to read (or write) about topics that expand on these health lessons. With that in mind, this first post focuses on heart health. February is the month of Love, with a capital L. We think of February as the time to think about all the love in our life; Love of romantic partners, love of friends and love of family. However, do we think enough about self-love? Do we think about our main love organ, the heart? How can we feel all the love we are capable of if our heart is not healthy? If our heart is clogged, or tired, or struggling because of how we take care of it, then we cannot love others to our full potential.

How can you have a healthy heart?

There are TWO main things you can do. Exercise and Food. Exercise will work more than your heart of course, but getting your heart rate up will strengthen this dynamic wonderful muscle sitting in the middle of your chest. A later blog will focus on fun and interesting exercises you can do. Today, the focus is food. What foods can you eat to keep your Love organ healthy? Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are going to be a great place to start.

If you are not used to eating with the idea of keeping your heart healthy in mind, then making a plan might be a great way to keep you on track. Below is a simple menu of foods you can eat over the course of one day to fuel your body and show love to your heart. This menu is meant to be a starting place, an idea-sparker for you. When you sit down to make your own plan, first make a list of all the fruits and vegetables you like. Plan your meals around the healthy food you already enjoy. As you make good choices, and see that healthy food is tasty food, branch out. Try a new fruit, or a new vegetable. Try making an old favorite in a new way.

Fruits and Vegetables are cute and delicious

Fruits and Vegetables are cute and delicious

As an example, I already like strawberries, but I had never had them sliced up on a salad. I saw a friend of mine do this, and I had to try it. It was WONDERFUL. Now I have a new way to enjoy one of my favorite fruits, and I have a new way to add interest to salads. Do you hate strawberries? Substitute a berry you do like.

Hot Oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries. Orange juice or Coffee with Skim Milk to drink

Grilled Salmon
Medium side salad topped with mandarin oranges slices, sliced strawberries, cucumber, walnuts, and a splash of dressing
Water or Unsweet tea to drink

Grilled chicken breast
Brown rice with cooked veggies stirred in, such as broccoli, carrots, or spinach
Water or Unsweet tea to drink
Sliced cantaloupe for dessert

See how easy that was? Now you have a beginning, a framework to make your own plan. What will you eat tomorrow to show your heart how much you like and appreciate it?

A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart-Full of LOVE

A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart-Full of LOVE


Body Walk in McComb MS October 15, 2012

Next stop for the Body Walk exhibit was in McComb MS in Pike county. Here, LaToya Evans booked BW for her county. We saw 2nd-5th grade. Here, we had great help from beginning to end. To start, all the maintenance men were asked to help with the set up. This was a surprise to them, but being professionals, they rolled with it. Close to the end of set-up, as we were fastening all the little Velcro tabs of the grey matter, I said, ‘Ya’ll didn’t know you were going to get to have this much fun today, huh?” One of the men answered, “No, but I’m having an exhilarating time.” I got so tickled, I had to just sit down and laugh until I recovered.

brain station

Head frame almost complete. Next step is the grey matter which goes inside the frame and stays in place with many, many Velcro attachments. (picture from different county)

We had great help both days that we saw the kids. Nursing students from two local colleges served as presenters in the rooms. On the first day, the maintenance men came back. I had told them to come by when the exhibit was in full swing so they could see the purpose of what they had put so much work into putting together. I have made this offer in the past, but rarely does anyone come by. These men came by and they took the WHOLE tour of the exhibit. I had the chance to explain each station, and what the children are supposed to learn from the activity in each room. It was great to have that connection between seeing it assembled, but silent and empty, to seeing it full and noisy.

Nursing students after a great day of teaching ‘how to be smart from the inside out.’

Nursing students from the second day.

The kids had a great time. From walking in and seeing Hardy Heart say ‘Hi, Kids’ to Sir Rebrum, from Windy Lungs to Madame Muscle; they learned and interacted and hopefully absorbed messages that will stick with them. Healthy kids grow into healthy adults. These are 800+ kids who got the chance to learn ‘be smart from the inside out.’

Next stop, Holly Springs.



Summer Travels for Mississippi Body Walk September 7, 2011

While the exhibit does not travel in the summer, sometimes the Coordinator does. This summer I went to a Wellness Day event in Jackson, MS and a Health Fair in Clarksdale, MS. Both were informative, educational trips. I met a lot of great people and got to talk A LOT about Body Walk.

MS State University Extension Service

Body Walk was asked to participate in the IHL (Institute of Higher Learning) Wellness Day at the IHL Headquarters in Jackson. I am always happy to spread the word about Body Walk that I was happy to go. Once there, I met up with Bob Ratliff, (look up title) and Jennifer ?, from Mississippi in Motion. We had a table to ourselves. Ladies from the local extension service were there at their own table. They had a very informative display on fat and sugar. People can never to too educated on the fat and sugar content in food.

Learning about hidden sugar, fat, and oils from the Hinds county Extension Service.

Other groups were represented as well. The local Weight Watchers was there for anyone who wanted to sign up. The other colleges had been invited to participate and they did. They sent bottled water and brochures.

Overall, it was a great day for Body Walk. I talked about the goals of the program, (be smart from the inside out), some of the many ways parents can help children be healthy, and what behaviors parents can adopt so that children will copy them, and thus set a pattern of healthy behavior.

The more you use your brain, the healthier it will be.

The second trip of the summer was to a Health Fair in Clarksdale MS. This Health Fair was set up in (look up name of building). There were many, many groups there. Some were local to Clarksdale or the Delta, and some had traveled many miles. I was set up near a lady whose program was to increase EBT use at farmer’s markets and to teach EBT users that they can shop at Farmer’s Markets.

Blood Services bus

MS Children's Health Project

Down Home Delta Trolley

Citizens who came to the health fair could donate blood, learn about what services are available to the children of MS and learn some local history of the Delta and the use of trolleys. The Mississippi Department of Health had a representative there demonstrating the proper use of car seats. Others groups were explaining how to recognize or manage diabetes, how to recognize and control asthma, and more. For kids, there was face-painting and a giant blow up bouncy castle. One group was giving out sturdy empty backpacks, and other was distributing hand fans. There was a lot of good information presented at the Health Fair.

Local Extension at the Clarksdale Health Fair.

The local extension office was represented by Shanna Taylor and Tamara Wright-Robinson. Their booth had lots of good information on nutrition and healthy living.

I talked to most everyone who was working there about Body Walk. Most had not seen it before, except for the extension ladies of course. They had booked, or worked at Body Walk before when I was in the area. I talked to many parents and grandparents who came through. Only one lady was disappointed. She wanted BW to go to her grandchildren’s school. They live in Tennessee.

Overall, these summer trips were very educational. It was a great experience to be able to talk about Body Walk to such a varied audience, in two different areas of the state.


Body Walk in Marion County: Columbia January 8, 2010

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Body Walk is off to a great start! We began the year in Columbia, MS. Here, Amanda Woods arranged for the local Junior Auxiliary and the Crown Club Girls to help set up, volunteer and take down the exhibit. Everyone was wonderful! Set up in the Columbia Expo Center was an interesting challenge due to the low ceiling.

Crown Club Members

Usually, when we set up, the truck is unloaded and the tents go up first. We open the tents, then raise them, attach ceilings, attach walls, raise them to the final height, and then set them into final position. Here, we had to raise them, set them into position, and then do the rest of the steps. It was a challenge, requiring some tents to be raised and lowered several times due to having to miss light fixtures. Everyone was a trooper, and with excellent teamwork, we got all the tents positioned and the rest of the exhibit assembled smoothly.

While Amanda oversaw the project, she had great help from Kathy Petty, Emily Knight and Renae Stringer. Each county has different ways of entertaining or occupying the students before or after they finish their turn in the Body Walk. Here, many tables were set up in a different part of the building so the students could color while they were waiting. After they finished, they had a snack. The process went very smoothly.

Crayon tables stretch into the distance.

Basket of Colors

Body Walk saw 400 second graders from four schools, East Marion, West Marion, Columbia, and Columbia Academy.


Body Walk in Lauderdale County: Meridian December 18, 2009

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The last trip for Body Walk in 2009 was to Meridian, in Lauderdale County. Here, there were many people who made this last trip of the year a success, and ended the ’09 portion of the traveling year on a high note. Dianne Shannon, the RN school nurse, Judy Crowson, wellness co-ordinator, Ann Compton, Erica Clark, Robbie McKee, and Merrick Jackson, all RN school nurses were on sight to help set up, run the program, and take down. Jerry Burton, 4H Youth Extension Agent, and Josephine Tate, Area Health Agent were a delight to work with.

Hard working Volunteers

Body Walk is designed to accommodate Kindergarten through Fifth grade. In Meridian, Body Walk saw Fifth graders from seven schools. Each county is different, and each Extension agent in conjunction with the school coordinator decides which children will be best served by touring the exhibit.

The presenters for each station can be adult volunteers, teachers, Extension agents, college students, or mature high school students. In Meridian, the Fifth graders were taught by high school Allied Health Students. The Allied Health Students did an excellent job of presenting the material, keeping order in their specific station, and utilizing the props to enhance the delivery of the material.

Allied Health Students lead Fifth graders in exercise after the tour.

At the end, each teacher was given a stack of workbooks for her class, as well as a sticker for the students to take home. The workbooks have exercises to reinforce the material presented in the Body Walk. Thanks to everyone who worked so well together. Meridian was a great way to close out 2009 for the Mississippi Body Walk.

Counting Workbooks and Stickers for all the students.


Body Walk comes to Lamar County October 27, 2009

Filed under: Body Walk,Nutrition — mississippibodywalk @ 2:31 PM
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The Body Walk exhibit rolled on in October. October 19-23 Body Walk was in Lamar County, Olive Grove Mississippi. Liz Sadler booked the exhibit and she and Kimberley Sullivan were on site all week to make sure things ran smoothly.

In Olive Grove, we saw children from three schools, Olive Grove, Purvis, and Sumrall. Body Walk is designed for kindergarten through fifth grade, but here, due to the large number of students, we only saw fourth graders.  Monday was set up day. Nursing students and registered dietitian students from USM helped with the set up and they did a fantastic job. During the week, the coordinators for each elementary school were Hagan Barber, Kim Jorns, and Jena Agent. They kept the teachers and students on track, on time, and in place for each groups turn to enter the exhibit.

Tuesday, all our volunteers working in the stations were nursing students from Jones County Junior College. They were energetic, knowledgable and pleasant. The kids went in smiling and came out smiling. I quizzed a few as they put their shoes back on and I could tell they had really paid attention in the stations.



Jones County Junior College nursing students


Wednesday, our volunteers were from the USM School of Nursing. These students were excited and they all handled their room well. We had a lunch break, and a few of the volunteers took the opportunity to work a different station for the afternoon shift.



USM School of Nursing students


Thursday and Friday, our volunteers were from William Carey University School of Nursing. We had eight each day and they all did a wonderful job. Thursday’s volunteers got away before I could get a picture, but Friday’s group posed on our big red tongue. The lady in the hard hat and holding the saw worked in the bone station. It is so wonderful when the volunteers really get into the ‘character’ of the room.  Friday’s volunteers also helped take down and pack up the exhibit. Excellent help.

William Carey University School of Nursing students

The goal of Body Walk is to help children be smart from the inside out. Presenting all the information that Body Walk has to offer would be impossible without the hard work and cooperation of so many. Thank you.


Body Walk comes to Coahoma County

Filed under: Body Walk,Uncategorized — mississippibodywalk @ 11:54 AM
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October has been a busy month for Body Walk. October 12-16, we were in Coahoma County at the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium.  We had a great week.

It began with this warm welcome.


Body Walk is THE event for the week.

It takes many volunteers to make Body Walk happen. One big job is counting out all the books and stickers for each child who tours the exhibit. Another job is working the room or station. The students learn so much as they travel through the human body from the brain to the skin. Here are just a few stops along the way.

Bookmarks! This is a stopping point after kids leave the brain station and before they get to the mouth station. I think our volunteers were so enamored of the brain, they wanted one to study of their very own.


A food bookmark lets a student know what food they are as they travel through the exhibit.

Here in the stomach, children get to use their bookmarks for the first time as they compare what food they are to the picture of my pyramid. Here in the stomach, they are ‘churned’ and ‘digested.’


The stomach where churning, sloshing digestion begins.

In the small intestine station, we have a volunteer telling the students about the villi in their bodies and how villi work to absorb nutrients.


The small intestine continues to break the food down after the stomach

Here we have a volunteer in the bone station telling the kids about the importance of strong bones, especially strong teeth.


Milk provides calcium needed for strong bones.

We are so happy we were able to bring Body Walk to Coahoma county. Thanks to all the hard work from so many people, it was a success.