Help Kids Get Healthy? We Can!
Health experts are calling for nationwide action to stem the rising rates of childhood obesity, and the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at Roscommon Middle School is responding.
A needs assessment concluded that 27% of seventh grade students at Roscommon Middle School described themselves as overweight, and more than 50% had taken some sort of action like eating less or exercising more to lose weight. On average, 8% of the students also reported having participated in unhealthy habits like fasting, using dietary aids or purging to control weight issues.
Staff members at SBHC have made obesity and nutrition a major focus for their outreach activities. Renee Britvec, R.N., is facilitating the We Can! program with students at Roscommon Middle School. We Can! is followed by a voluntary after-school program called Media Smart.
The We Can! program teaches basic nutrition skills to students so that they can better account for what they are putting in their bodies every day. They learn how to recognize healthy and unhealthy foods in their diets and learn to better balance their meals using the Go! Slow! and Whoa! food labeling system. The system is color coded like a stoplight. Go! (green) foods are lowest in fat, calories and sugar and can be eaten almost any time. Slow! (yellow) foods are higher in fat and have added sugar and calories and should be eaten in moderation. Whoa! (red) foods are very high in fat, sugar and calories and should be eaten only on rare occasions.
"By simply teaching the kids this stoplight formula, they begin to realize how they can make better nutrition choices every day," said Britvec. "It is very encouraging to see the kids 'get' how what they are eating affects their bodies."
The Media Smart program is a voluntary afterschool program that will help students become aware of and think critically about the media's role in influencing their nutrition and physical activity choices. Each session of the program includes a media lesson and activity, a healthy snack, and some form of physical activity.
For more information, called the SBHC at (989) 275-6658.