Ottumwa students gear up for Jump Rope for Heart

Shayla McBride of the American Heart Association talks to students at Horace Mann Elementary.

With American Heart Month just around the corner in February, schools across Iowa are gearing up for Jump Rope for Heart. A representative from the American Heart Association visited schools in Ottumwa and Southeast Iowa, including Horace Mann Elementary, Tuesday morning to get kids excited for the annual event.

About $10 million of funding goes to research being done in Iowa City and Ames, so the money raised from events at schools across the state stays in Iowa. This is the 35th year for Jump Rope for Heart, which continues to grow in popularity.

"It's successful because the P.E. teachers are tied into it, very much so, they enjoy doing it," said Shayla McBride, Youth Marketing Director for the American Heart Association. "It's something that they can tie right into their curriculum, they don't have to do an extra event, if they want to, some do, some don't, so it just depends on how they do it."

McBride said a recent study shows that 65% of Iowans are obese, so this campaign focuses on teaching children to eat right, be active and avoid tobacco use when they're older to get healthy and stay healthy.