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Chesterfield program promotes healthy lifestyle

posted Dec 18, 2015, 5:08 AM by Terri Willms   [ updated Dec 18, 2015, 5:16 AM ]
    Chesterfield Elementary School is in its second year of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) grant. Burke County Cooperative Extension Program Assistant Carol Lamb taught the Steps to Health third grade nutrition education program during the 2014-15 school year at Chesterfield. For the 2015-16 school year, Lamb has returned to teach more nutrition and physical activity lessons to the pre-k through third graders. 
    Steps to Health’s focus is to help families establish healthy eating habits, to adopt physically active lifestyle and to prevent chronic disease, such as obesity. Additionally, research has shown a link between healthy foods and physical activity with student health and improved learning. 
    The Steps to Health elementary programs incorporate all senses into learning about healthy foods and being active. Topics include MyPlate, nutrition label reading, where and how foods grow, hand washing and being active. The lessons also incorporate grade-level math, reading and science. Students participating in the program also sample healthy foods. Parents of participating students receive nutrition and wellness information and a cookbook. Last year, Chesterfield teachers reported that students were more willing to try new foods because of the Steps to Health programs, and parents said they liked the cookbook and its recipes and that their children were drinking fewer sodas and reading more nutrition labels.
    New this year are initiatives beyond classroom education, including the “ChopChop” magazine that will be sent home each season to encourage families to cook and play together, and the Harvest of the Month program, which promotes eating more fruits and vegetables. Parents receive a take-home sheet that includes shopping and storage tips, recipes and ways to be active as a family. Steps to Health also is coordinating with Burke County Child Nutrition to connect the nutrition education in the classroom with the cafeteria and will use Harvest of the Month samplings to promote consuming foods from the cafeteria menu. Steps to Health, a NC State University program, is in over 50 counties in North Carolina through NC Cooperative Extension. Funding is provided through the US Department of Agriculture and NC Department of Social Services.

Photo: The first Harvest of the Month vegetable at Chesterfield was the squash, which Lamb presented at the Multicultural Night on Oct. 23.

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Burke County Public Schools
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