WES hosts FoodPlay for child nutritionPublished 4:57pm Thursday, October 17, 2013
Schools around the country are teaming up with FoodPlay 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, brought its cast of colorful characters, fantastic feats of juggling, motivating messages, music, magic, and fun to West Elementary School in Russellville on Tuesday thanks to the Russellville City Schools Child Nutrition Program.
RCS CNP director Elaine Vaughn said West Elementary has hosted FoodPlay in the past and the program went over very well with the students.
“We want our students to understand the importance of eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and making healthy life choices,” Vaughn said.
“We do things throughout the year to promote this message, and we are glad to host the FoodPlay production and performers because they make this message fun and easy to understand.”
During the fun-filled performance, children follow the antics of
Janey Junkfood, whose dream is to become a national juggling star, but she keeps dropping the balls.
Students quickly learned her problem was her poor eating habits. With the help of the “Coach” of the National Junior Juggling Team and the audience of enthusiastic elementary school children, Janey learns how to juggle the foods she eats
to wind up with a balanced diet. 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.
Storper is a leader in children’s nutrition and 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,” she said. “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.”
According to USDA-sponsored evaluations, over 75% of children reported increasing their fruit and vegetable intake, cutting down on soda and sweets, reading food labels more often, eating breakfast more regularly, and being more physically active after taking part in FoodPlay.
Educators report that FoodPlay triggers school-wide excitement for healthy habits, getting everyone on board –students, teachers, parents, food service, health staff, and administrators – to work together to create healthy schools and healthy communities.
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 staff, health staff and students.
Teachers receive activity guidebooks to help integrate nutrition into core subject areas and link the cafeteria with the classroom learning. And, students take home healthy snack cards to post on their fridge.
For more information, free snack recipes, and tips for kids and families, visit www.FoodPlay.com.