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Fit to Be Taught, Vol.12

Hold the Fries! Three Programs Are Improving Student Nutrition


Halting the trend toward child obesity is a challenge, but some schools are meeting that challenge with more than food that is nutritionally balanced. They are using technological tools and nutrition curriculum to help students make wise choices about what they eat...for life.

If it seems that your students are only interested in fast food fare, don't blame them, take aim at American culture. Our love affair with quick and not-so-healthy meals is spreading to more than our children's waistlines, it is tainting the way they look at food, says Dr. Antonia Demas, president and founder of The Food Studies Institute . Her non-profit organization in Trumansburg, New York, makes its mission to improve the long-term health and education of children and their families.

"There are many obstacles to children's good nutrition today, including advertising efforts of the fast food industry that are aimed at children," Dr. Demas explained. "Food in school is not often linked to education and frequently mimics the foods in the fast food culture. Another challenge is the lack of political will to make food education a priority."

In her doctoral thesis for Cornell University, Dr. Demas proved that a food-based curriculum encourages students to accept diverse healthful foods in the school lunch program.

Read the full article on Education World

Wellness News
Kids Need Long-Term Plan to Keep Slim Children who lose weight often have a hard time keeping it off without a long-term plan, according to a study.

Goodbye, Dodge Ball; Hello, Exergaming "Exergaming," which involves using fitness programs that include video games, is finding its way into physical education classes.

Nutrition Lessons In and Outside of School

The Kernville (California) Union Free School District offers a classroom nutrition education program to all students. Lessons in healthful eating are illustrated by the nutritious meals and snacks provided by the staff under the National School Lunch, Breakfast, and After School Snack Programs.

Students have opportunities to participate in poster contests, school health fairs, farmers market field trips, and other classroom and school-based activities. One of the most anticipated activities of the year is the Agriculture Day field trip in which elementary-age students visit the local high school and learn about nutritious foods and the agriculture process.

The Hooked On Positive Education (HOPE) After School Nutrition Program provides students the opportunity to participate in a variety of weekly nutrition education, cooking, taste-testing, and/or gardening classes and activities.

The classes and activities focus on the project goals, which are to encourage children to eat five fruits and vegetables per day and exercise. One highlight of this program has been the recipe card file project. This project involved students in grades 4 to 6 developing fruit and vegetable recipes, and younger students decorating the recipe cards with colorful drawings of fruits and vegetables.

For their part, the middle school students planned, prepared, and served a spaghetti dinner. The students learned about balancing food choices, incorporating tasty and colorful fruits and vegetables, and food budgeting.

Read more about this program at: HOPE After School Nutrition Program.

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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