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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The National Association for Sport and Physical Education gets kids active and aware of heart health. Overweight children tend to become overweight adults. Hoops for Heart is a major fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

Childhood obesity has been a big problem in Mississippi for years. Overweight children tend to become overweight adults. Hoops for Heart is a major fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Thursday, Cook Elementary’s P-E Coach received a national honor for her efforts to raise heart health awareness.

Cook Elementary Coach Amy Martin says, “It’s not so much the national thing as it is what they did for me here today that really touched my heart.”

In front of a packed auditorium Cook Elementary P.E. Coach Amy Martin got a big surprise when she was awarded the National Outstanding Hoops for Heart Award. It goes to the Hoops for Heart Coordinator who best leads by example.

Martin says, “Most of the work is on the kids end. They’re the ones that I guess you would say get the credit for this because they’re the ones that do all the work.”

Young people who participate in Hoops for Heart raise money, and since 2000, Coach Martin and her students have raised well over 60 thousand dollars.

Cook Elementary Principal Dr. Tim Wilcox says, “We have a student that who has a heart condition and Coach Martin last year made a special effort to make her the Queen of the Hoops for the Heart Ball.”

Cook Elementary Assistant Principal Kimberly Wright says, “I can say that we as a school district and school we definitely work to keep health as a priority in our school. Coach Martin plays a big part in that.”

Cook Elementary students are taking a stand to stay active. Martin hopes their healthy habits will last a lifetime.

According to Martin, “It’s not just what you can get but what you can give. And I think that a lot of kids understand that.

Martin is looking forward to raising the bar for next year and exceeding what they raised this year.

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