DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Health clubs in every school: it's DeSoto County's newest way to fight the fat.
Some Mississippi students are learning the ins and outs of fitness and nutrition. They'll take their newfound knowledge and share it with classmates.
"I think everyone's learning a lot. Hopefully this will kind of span out into each of our schools," says Maryasa England, an 11th grader at Hernando High School.
Students and teachers from 25 DeSoto schools are learning how to start health clubs.
"Bringing different ideas back to the school and back to your community," England says. "Especially Mississippi, being one of the higher states that's ranked up there with obesity, and with DeSoto County being the largest school district. I think it's a really big deal."
They're focusing on nutrition, exercise and making healthy choices.
"We need to exercise more, get active in Hernando," says Hernando Middle School 8th grader Robert Wilke.
"I'm here to literally drive and inspire them to keep on going, to keep on running and to never give up and to never take no for an answer," says Richard Neal, a Tennessean who lost 242 pounds in 18 months.
He's started a fitness campaign and is speaking to DeSoto's students about his secrets.
"I like his story," Wilke says. "Where he went with that, how he came out of his situation."
"It's the ripple effect," Neal says. "Eventually everybody will know and everybody will create the change because it all starts with one person and they're that one person and I want them to understand that."
England will be sharing what she's learned with hundreds of her classmates. "Just in my grade, just the junior class has around 300 kids," she tells abc24.com. "There's a lot of kids that will learn from this."