- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Numerous Middle Tennessee schools will emphasize the benefits of exercise to students next month.

As part of American Heart Month, the schools will raise awareness through programs like the American Heart Association Jump Rope For Heart, as well as raise funds for the association’s research to battle heart disease.

Schools to take part in the next few months include 54 Davidson County schools, 29 in Rutherford County, 28 in Sumner County, 27 in Montgomery County, 14 in Wilson County and 11 in Williamson County.

During the last fiscal year, more than 136,000 Middle Tennessee students took part in the programs, raising $328,000 for the American Heart Association.

According to the latest statistics, more than 24 million American youth are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke as adults.

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