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North Huntington teen to be featured on billboard

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By Colin Gabauer
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A North Huntington teenager is among this year's crop of Westmoreland County students to promote their healthy habits on Excela Health billboards.

Jason Bevington of North Huntington will be featured on a Route 30 billboard that promotes weight training as well as Excela Health. The health organization chose Jason based on a 400-word essay that he wrote for its Healthy Habits ad campaign.

Excela asked middle-school students in 12 school districts to write about what they do to have a healthy lifestyle. Those who penned winning essays are featured on billboards in their hometowns.

“The purpose of the billboard contest is to reach out to ‘tweens' or middle school students who are at a point in their lives where they are beginning to experience independence,” said Robin Jennings, Excela Health spokeswoman.

“Children at this age are starting to do more things on their own,” Jennings said. “We feel that a kid who adopts healthy choices at this age is more likely to do it throughout their lives because it is a decision they have made on their own.”

Jason, who began his weight training at age 12, will turn 15 next month. His decision to live a healthy lifestyle came from watching someone close to him.

“I used my dad as a role model,” he said. “I saw him working out all the time, and I said, ‘I want to be like my dad.'”

Jason also stays active by competing on Norwin's wrestling and football teams. He also plays in the Norwin Basketball Association.

The key to staying fit, he said, really is to make exercise a habit.

“You just need a good schedule,” Jason said. “It becomes a lifestyle. It makes you feel and look better. It really helps with strength and stamina.”

Jason and his family hit the gym three times a week for 90-minute workouts. Teamwork is key.

“We have to work together to push ourselves,” said Jason's father, Scott.

“It is all about progress and cardio,” Jason added.

Jason's initiative inspired his family to eat healthier, too, by limiting how often they eat certain foods.

“We eat all foods,” said Jason's mother, Marilyn. “We just make sure it is in moderation.”

Jason plans to pass on his healthy habit by training his younger brother when he turns 12 this summer.

“Don't worry,” Jason said with a smile. “I am going to start him off easy.”

Colin Gabauer is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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