Healthy Habits for Life is a program of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation that gives grants to schools. Skyline Elementary students got tips and materials to encourage health and activity during an assembly on Monday.

Skyline Elementary was awarded a grant to purchase three exercise mats for PE, a fat replica and artery model, and nutrition education materials to share with students and their families. School nurse Karen Wilcox and PE teacher Kari Jones conducted the program for the students.

Wilcox and Jones worked together to link fitness and nutrition. Elementary students were given materials to teach them about overall wellness. Wilcox and Jones developed a collaborative program incorporating the use of the new mats and nutrition education to help kids lower their cardiovascular risk, learn healthy eating habits, and boost their physical activity.

"Being healthy is good and I learned a lot," second grader Brayden Buck said.

This program has tied in perfectly with another activity in the elementary school this week. Jump Rope for Heart is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association where kids learn different jump rope tricks and raise money over a set period of time to win prizes depending on how much they raise.

After the fundraising is complete, the children go to an after-school event where they jump rope for an hour and a half.

"It's not just about getting the prizes," fourth grader Troy Hamm said.

As part of the Wellness Program, Wilcox offered a nutrition booth after school on Thursday, March 14, during Jump Rope for Heart.

"The kids really seemed to have fun," Wilcox said. "They asked a lot of questions and they have been coming up to me and telling me the fruits and vegetables they're deciding to eat now."

Elementary students are developing skills they'll remember for a long time. In the fight against obesity in America, it really does pay to be healthy.

Ascha Lee is a sophomore at Skyline School.