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Article updated: 3/28/2013 1:49 PM

Health World Engages Fifth Graders at Gary Elementary with Nutrition Education

Health World's Senior Director of Education, Ilana Sherman, teaches fifth graders about the importance of referring to nutrition labeling when making healthy food choices. (Gary Elementary, March 2013)

Health World's Senior Director of Education, Ilana Sherman, teaches fifth graders about the importance of referring to nutrition labeling when making healthy food choices. (Gary Elementary, March 2013)

 

Kym Zylke

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By Kym Zylke, Executive VP of Health World

The entire 5th grade of Gary Elementary was involved in nutrition education programs that taught them about portion sizes and reading food labels, and peer and media influence on body image. Additionally, students learned how all of these factors play a significant role when making healthy food choices. These programs were presented by Health World educators and made possible FREE of charge through the generous support of the General Mills Community Action Council located in West Chicago.

Highlights of both programs -- Body Image: Keep It Real and Fast Food Vacation -- were designed to implement strategies for the prevention of childhood obesity. The underlying message is not about weight, but about the health of our communities' children. With health at the forefront of our nation's consciousness, health education is becoming a key component to changing the statistics. A recent CDC Report indicates two-thirds of deaths among persons over 25 years old results from cardiovascular disease and cancer, and the majority of the risk behaviors associated with these two causes of death are found to be initiated during adolescence.

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The professional health educators used teaching tactics, such as dialog, image analysis and real-life role playing, to engage and empower students in shaping their physical and mental health through healthy decision-making now. Lessons included ideas for combating negative self-image and promoting good choices in leading a healthy lifestyle.

"It is due to the support from organizations like General Mills that Health World (a not-for-profit) is able to provide these educational resources. For that we are extremely grateful," explained Peter Rusin, Executive Director. "Together we are partnered to provide nutrition education for elementary and middle school students and it is our job to get them involved in managing their nutrition, fitness and general health!"

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