HealthStart has expanded to South Texas!
In January 2020 the HealthStart Foundation launched a pilot of the “What Are You Feeding?” (WAYF) Cafeteria Nutrition Education Program in 7 Kingsville area elementary schools with a generous grant from the L’Aiglon Foundation. The L’Aiglon Foundation is located in Kingsville, Texas and has supported programs in Kingsville schools and community efforts since 1982.
The WAYF pilot program will take place in four Kingsville area Independent School Districts: Driscoll ISD, Kingsville ISD, Ricardo ISD, and Santa Gertrudis ISD.The pilot program will reach over 2680 elementary school students. The goal is to help students make good choices about what they eat.
The WAYF program uses colorful stickers of each body system placed on the cafeteria food line to illustrate how different foods take care of different parts of the body. These visual cues help students make the connection between the food they eat and their health.
In addition to the stickers, HealthStart has added two new elements to help reinforce the concepts and ideas of the program. Each day during morning announcements, the principal will highlight which cafeteria offerings are particularly good for the students’ brain, bones, circulatory system, muscles and digestive systems using a customized menu template.
Also, children in 2nd - 4th Grades will be given a “scorecard” to keep track of which parts of their bodies they have fed for one week every month from February through May. The goal is for students to meet ⅓ of their nutritional needs during lunch by feeding each body system every day.
"The kids are already talking about it in the cafeteria and had a lot of fun filling out their scorecards. They get excited to find out what body system each food feeds." said Marci Braswell, Principal, Ricardo ISD
Why is this important?
During the 2 ½ year pilot program a team of evaluators from the University of Texas will be measuring changes in the students eating habits over time. Research has shown that when children eat better, they do better in school, behave better in the classroom, and are absent less. A study from the National Institute of Health concluded that children who consume higher quality nutrient diets made higher grades and missed fewer days of school compared with children whose diets were of poor quality. This link shows the importance of adequate nutrient-dense foods in a child’s diet.
“We have a wonderful opportunity at Driscoll ISD to help our students learn how to make healthy food choices through the What Are You Feeding campaign. Driscoll students will be learning how to nourish their bodies through the food choices they make on a daily basis at school. It is our hope that this new knowledge will affect their food choices at home and help our students build lifelong healthy eating habits.” said Lynn Landenberger, Principal, Driscoll ISD
We could not be more excited for our partnership with Kingsville area schools and look forward to helping students build healthier futures!
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