Eat Smart, Move More NC Recipes for Success

June 1, 2010

3rd Graders TRACK their steps to healthy living

Recipe Name:

Physical Activity + Balanced Eating = A Healthier You!

Ingredients:

Target audience

  • DF Walker Elementary 3rd Grade Students in Chowan County

Partners involved

  • DF Walker Elementary School
  • Edenton-Chowan Public Schools
  • DF Walker Parent-Teacher Association
  • Chowan County Cooperative Extension
  • North Carolina State University's (NCSU) Steps to Health SNAP-Ed Program
  • Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department
  • Three Rivers Healthy Carolinians
  • Chowan Hospital
  • Student Health Advisory Council
  • Sylvan Learning Center

Resources needed for the project

  • NCSU's Steps to Health 3rd Grade Curriculum
  • SNAP-Ed Grant and NCSU funding
  • FIT Community Grant from North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund
  • Dedicated teachers and principals
  • Enthusiastic Cooperative Extension agents
  • Supportive community partners

Instructions:

The project

The Town of Edenton was designated a FIT Community in 2007 and 2008 and was awarded a FIT Community Grant which was used to fund the Project TRACK (Teaching, Reaching, and Collaborating for Knowledge) along with other collaborative partners. A quarter mile walking track was built. From grant funds, students also received a pedometer and track the number of steps they take while at school each day. Based on the number of steps, students can earn incentives.

In conjunction with Project TRACK, the Steps to Health 3rd Grade Program was implemented at DF Walker Elementary. The curriculum includes a pre-/post- nutrition knowledge survey and seven educational lessons. Students learn how to identify fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy beverages and various types of physical activity. Each educational lesson includes a taste test (a snack the 3rd grader can make after-school) and a recipe for a healthy meal for parents to make for dinner.

Basic steps to implementing the project

  1. Confirm with 3rd grade teachers and the school principal dates for the Steps to Health program
  2. Administer pre- and post- nutrition and physical activity knowledge surveys
  3. Teach core nutrition lessons to students and incorporate worksheets and food demonstrations
  4. Promote daily physical activity through participation in Project TRACK
  5. Encourage students to give parents weekly nutrition information handouts and recipes
  6. Encourage parent participation with parent feedback forms

The Timeframe

  • August - Initial inquiry with the school for their interest in participating in the program
  • December - half-day program training
  • January - Confirmation of program dates with the 3rd grade teachers
  • January - April 2010 - Nine 30 to 45-minute nutrition education sessions weekly, daily record of steps, and walking the track at least 3 days per week for 20 minutes.

Results:

The TRACK and Steps to Health program has been so successful that the school is hosting a TRACK Family Day in May 2010. Students and their families are invited to the track to take part in family activities and health education. Albemarle Regional Health Services and Three Rivers Healthy Carolinians have received a grant from Chowan Hospital to provide taste tests and nutrition education.

Also, school staff and parents have seen a dramatic reduction in students' body mass index since Program TRACK initiated. Teachers report that students are performing better academically. A collaborative effort of the school system, child nutrition director, and school administrators led to the removal of the fryer from the cafeteria kitchen and now only whole-wheat bread is served in the school cafeteria. Project TRACK will be added to the school handbook for 2010-2011, thus making TRACK a policy. The Steps to Health Curriculum will continue to be taught to 3rd Graders in 2011.

More Information:

Name, Title: Lindsay Hecht, MS, RD, School Nutrition Associate
Agency: NCSU Cooperative Extension
Address: NCSU Campus Box 7606
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919.513.8790
Fax: 919.515.7812
Email: lnhecht@ncsu.edu


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