FARMINGTON — As obesity and heart disease becomes an issue for Americans of all ages, health experts say it is increasingly important to introduce both children and adults to proper exercise and nutrition habits that reduce future health risks.

With an aim at promoting heart disease prevention through diet, exercise and heart healthy activities, Farmington Municipal Schools are "Going Red" with a district-wide campaign to promote National Heart Month.

Health Education and Nutrition Coordinator Jessica Carpenter said school officials wanted to educate staff and students about ways to prevent or reduce the risk of heart related illnesses.

"It's amazing when you start introducing kids to heart healthy aspects of exercise and nutrition," Carpenter said. "It's about making good food choices and getting off the couch, putting down the technology and encouraging heart healthy habits for everyone."

Schools across the district will be hosting their own activities throughout the month, coordinated through the Physical Education teachers.

"Many PE teachers will be doing activities like "Jump Rope for Heart,' off campus walks and exercises that get the heart pumping," Carpenter said. "It's a great time to make people aware they can be in charge of their health and destiny through healthy living."

Carpenter was able to organize discounts for school employees through local gyms, spas and stores for the month as an incentive to embrace the campaign's message.

The schools will also be selling "Commitment Hearts" for $1 each. The decorative hearts have a space for the purchaser to write their name or the name of a loved one affected by heart disease. Feb. 14 is the official "FMS Goes Red" day where students and staff are encouraged to wear red clothing in the spirit of the campaign.

As part of the month-long campaign, Bluffview Elementary School held a community health fair as part of its parent-teacher conferences Thursday night.

Physical education teacher Kathy Lund said it is extremely important for children to start heart health habits when they are young as they will be more likely to keep up the healthy habits.

"There is an obesity epidemic as kids and adults are too inactive," Lund said. "My goal is to teach them fun exercises and provide activities that cover different components of fitness."

Different booths were set up in the school gym, with area hospitals and volunteers from around the community sharing information on healthy meals and snacks along with fun exercises for the students to try.

Thomas Yost of First Tee of San Juan County ran a golf station where students could test their putting skills. Students also danced to the video game "Just Dance."

San Juan County Executive Director Yost was on hand to promote Bluffview as one of the schools that will teach the national program in its physical education classes.

The program is designed to teach character values, life skills and promote healthy choices through the sport of golf.

"Childhood obesity is rampant in San Juan County," Yost said. "We are just trying to introduce the kids so they can get out from behind the television sets and computers to get active and get outside."