Professor Stone doing his part to promote childhood wellness

Release Date: 1/2/2014

University of the Ozarks Professor Dr. Brett Stone is quickly earning a reputation as one of the region's leading experts of physical education and wellness among school-age children.

Stone, assistant professor of health and physical education, has received numerous awards and recognition in recent years for his efforts in promoting wellness and battling childhood obesity. In December, he was chosen to serve as a moderator in the inaugural Arkansas Obesity Scientific Symposium, which was sponsored by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the Arkansas Scientific Obesity Group.  The symposium featured the latest in obesity-related research and presentations from internationally known experts.

Dr. Brett Stone

Dr. Brett Stone, assistant professor of health and physical education, is quickly earning a reputation as one of the region's leading experts in physical education and wellness among school-aged children.

Stone has been a tireless advocate of physical education and wellness among school-age children, as evidenced by his dissertation, which was titled "Physical Activity and Change in Fitnessgram Scores in Arkansas 4th Grade Children." He was named by the Arkansas Governor's Council on Fitness and Baptist Health as the recipient of the 2012 Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations whose efforts positively impact the health and fitness of Arkansans. In 2011, he was named the Higher Education Educator of the Year by the Arkansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreations and Dance (ArkAHPERD).

Before joining Ozarks in 2008, Stone spent 14 years as an elementary school teacher where he saw first-hand the decline of physical activity among young people. Ever since then he's been determined to do his small part to help turn that trend around.

"Working in the public school environment, I watched as not only the activity level of children decline, but the desire to be physically active also decline," said Stone. "Students are just not motivated to move and that's becoming a bigger and bigger problem in this state and this country."

Stone said he believes that deep down children want to move and they want to be active because children, by nature, have a lot of built-up energy.

"They just need opportunities to become active and it's our job as educators to give them those opportunities and to develop programs that maximize the benefits of physical activity," he said.

Stone has helped develop curriculum and policy governing childhood health and he helped co-author a school based intervention for reduction of childhood obesity.  He has been active in the state level in the development of physical education standards for the public school system and has presented workshops to colleagues to help develop a program called Recess with a Purpose, a program that gets kids actively involved at recess rather than just standing around visiting.  It also integrates a healthy eating component into the program to teach students the importance of eating a healthy diet.  He has presented programs at the Western Educational Co-op called Physical Education for Healthy Life Choices to inspire health teachers and classroom teachers to teach students about making life choices that will impact their health as they grow older.

"We know that children who are not physically active become adults who are not physically active," he said. "And, there is a direct correlation between low activity levels and such health issues as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. If we can get kids active now, there's a much better chance they will remain active their entire lives."