Dear parents/ guardians,
My name is Erin Keane, I am a senior nursing student at Bloomsburg University. This semester, I have been working on a project at Central Columbia Elementary School. This project involves working to improve the health of the students. Upon reviewing the body mass indexes (BMIs) of the students, about 31% of the students have a BMI above the 85th or 95th percentile, indicating an issue of overweight and obesity. Childhood overweight and obesity has been shown by studies to put the children at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression. In order to improve this issue, I will be adding a section to the school handbook for the next academic year regarding improving the snacks the students bring to school. Until that handbook addition is available next school year, we will be adding a webpage explaining what will be included. Some of this information includes:
- Sugar sweetened beverages such as soda, replace with water
- Fast food and low-nutrient snacks (like chips and candy)
- Limiting fat and choosing fat-free or low-fat dairy
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- If giving juice, choose 100% juice
- Whole grains
- Examples of snacks to bring: water, fruits & veggies, fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and cheese
Along with improving the snacks the children bring in for themselves, we are also trying to improve the treats students bring in for the class on their birthdays. Please try to bring in healthier options for the class such as fruit and vegetable trays, or strive for non-food items such as birthday stickers or pencils.
Hopefully with improving nutrition at snack time and class parties, we can get these kids healthier and happier!
Erin Keane and Trudy Faux RN,CSN, MSN-Elementary School Nurse