Henderson students learning to grow up healthy and fit - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Henderson students learning to grow up healthy and fit

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Henderson County Elementary Schools are teaming up with FOODPLAY for the second year in a row to empower children with the skills they need to take charge of growing up healthy and fit.

FOODPLAY, a national award-winning theater show promoting healthy eating and exercise habits, will be bringing its cast of colorful characters, fantastic feats of juggling, motivating messages, music, magic, and fun to all Henderson County Elementary Schools this month.

While FOODPLAY makes good eating great fun, its messages are very serious. So serious, in fact, that First Lady, Michelle Obama, has launched the nation's first childhood obesity task force, designed to tackle the alarming rise in the number of overweight children.

In the last 25 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled among elementary school children and tripled among teenagers. One in three children is overweight, and less than two percent of the nation's youth are meeting their daily nutritional requirements.

Kids on average are drinking over 600 cans of soda and consuming more than 150 pounds of sugars a year, missing out on recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed for optimal health.

During the fun-filled performance, children follow the antics of Johnny Junkfood, whose dream is to become a national juggling star, but he keeps dropping the balls. The problem – his poor eating habits.

With the help of the "Coach" of the National Junior Juggling Team and the audience of enthusiastic elementary school children, Johnny learns how to juggle the foods he eats to wind up with a balanced diet.

School officials say the program will help children learn how to see through TV commercials, decipher food labels, and make choices that are good for their health and good for the health of the planet.

"We have to fight fire with fire," says FOODPLAY creator and Executive Director, Barbara Storper, MS, RD.

A leader in children's nutrition, Storper has reached over three million children at schools across the country with FOODPLAY, using the power of live theater to make nutrition come alive.

"We need to use the same techniques advertisers use in order to get kids excited about healthy foods and healthy practices!" says Storper. "And schools are the perfect setting to model healthy behaviors and educate students on how to make their choices healthy ones. Once kids get the facts, they become the most effective health advocates, bringing the message back home!"

To extend the lessons throughout the year, schools receive a comprehensive Follow-Up Resource Kit filled with hands-on nutrition education materials for teachers, parents, school food service, health staff, and students.

Teachers receive activity guidebooks to help integrate nutrition into core subject areas and link cafeteria with classroom learning.

Students also take home healthy snack cards to post on their refrigerators.

FOODPLAY will be at the following elementary schools on the following dates:
February 20: Jefferson (8:30 a.m.) and East Heights (12:25 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.)
February 21: Spottsville (9:00 a.m. and 10:05 a.m.) and Niagara (1:15 p.m.)
February 22: Bend Gate (8:30 a.m. and 9:35 a.m.) and Cairo (1:15 p.m.)
February 25: A.B. Chandler (9:00 a.m.) and South Heights (12:30 p.m. and 1:35 p.m.)

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