Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

MURRAY COUNTY (WRCB) - Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The center for disease control reports, obesity among children aged six to 11 years increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. Among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, obesity rates increased from 5 percent to 18.1 percent for that same period.

Channel 3 wanted to know are there more ways to handle the epidemic than by just changing the schools' lunch menu?

Teachers in Murray County say yes.

They are hoping that by leading by example, children in their school district will become healthier.

After all, it's teachers like Michele Fraser that shape the lives of our future generations.

"Tears were rolling down my eyes, from that point on I said this is serious I've got grandchildren I need to be around for, I need to do something," said Fraser who survived a heart attack in April.

She was scared straight, knowing she may not have ever seen her family, or the students she taught at Woodlawn Elementary again.

She made a decision her second chance at life would start by not letting her loved ones face death by obesity.

"This is their history now, I told them I am your history, take heed in what's happening to me, it will happen to you, they started changing their lives," said Fraser.

Thanks to the help of Mohawk Industries, and PictureWellness, Fraser will get a chance to change the lives of her students.

PictureWellness keeps Mohawks employees in shape, but they needed a location to work out. Spring Place Elementary stepped up. In return Mohawk opened their training sessions to all Murray County teachers free of charge.

Maurice Saliba runs PictureWellness, he says it will no doubt trickle down to the children, "there's other factors like how the body works, and we feel like if the teacher shares that with the kids, it's common sense stuff that can really impact their lives."

Fraser completely agrees, " if I could help just one child make a better life for themselves, it's worth what I do."

Maurice says it's not just the teachers who can help. He says if one parent is obese, there's a 50 percent chance their child will battle obesity.

"In society we want teachers, and parents to think, if you don't want to do it for yourself, think of your kids, think of you're grandchildren, it's time to make a change," added Saliba.

More than 40 Murray County teachers have signed up.

Maurice said check back in, in about three months, he's promising amazing results. In the meantime he says challenge yourself at home, you won't regret it.