SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN. (WRCB) -- Over the past decade, awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women has gone up and deaths from the disease have gone down.
Now the National Heart Association wants to get their message out there early to our youth. Nolan Elementary is getting that message across while jumping rope.
"It's fun to be jump roping but it's also good for you," says student, John Gilbert.
Gilbert's buddy Jackson Yoakum adds, "It's important to exercise because you don't want to live in a place where everyone is fat and can't move."
Students at Nolan Elementary understand Thursday's jump rope for heart wasn't just a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. But not everyone understands that, says the association youth director Jean Saunders.
"If the current trend of overweight and sedentary lifestyle and nutrition choices were to continue this would be the first generation of children that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents," she says.
Saunders says 25 million children between ages two and 19 are overweight or at risk.
If nothing is done, overweight children become overweight adults, putting them at higher risks for diabetes, strokes, heart diseases and a number of other life threatening issues.
She says Hamilton County Schools are taking steps in the right direction but it also has to happen at home, meaning parents must play an active roll.
"Being active with them and setting a good example for children. Rather than sitting and playing video games, go outside and play ball together or go take a walk together."
She says it's easier to break that trend while they're young. The more people that set examples, the better. Whether it's Looie the Lookout or Mocs Quarterback Terrell Robinson.
Robinson says, "You have to stay healthy in today's world. I encourage every kid out there to get out and do something healthy each and every day."