To help combat the epidemic, the state has received a grant to improve workplace wellness in the school systems.
Coach Wilhelm is leading by example when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. He wears a pedometer every day to track his progress step by step, and now it's become a competition at Thomas County Central High School.
Wilhelm says, "We felt like it would be more of a motivation thing you know, if hey, my teacher is doing it. Kind of ‘beat the teachers’ kind of thing, see who can do the best, and at the same time keep our teachers fit and healthy as well."
And Coach Wilhelm isn't alone. Beginning this year, Thomas County schools are implementing a wellness policy
Karen Green, the county's school nutrition director, said, "We try to stress nutrition education, physical activity and setting the right example with healthy snacks. Food that parents bring from home, we try to encourage healthier from home."
Healthier food and plenty of activity is the main goal for the county's wellness plan. Hand in Hand Primary School is doing its part by bringing P.E. class back to campus.
Catherine Thompson, a kindergarten teacher, said, "On the days the kids don't go to P.E. we do incorporate P.E. activities into the classroom curriculum. We also have buzz walks around the school where the students take a five to ten minute walk around the school."
Wilhelm adds, "We're just trying to get people more aware of being active and staying fit."
Georgia schools are now taking the initiative to teach children at a young age about healthy lifestyles. Gov. Perdue wants the workplace wellness initiative to be implemented in the school system by fall of 2007.