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franklin county times

Vina promotes health education

Leigh Burks’ third grade class at Vina Elementary School has been involved in a program called Body Quest Health since October.
Leigh Burks’ third grade class at Vina Elementary School has been involved in a program called Body Quest Health since October.

By Bart Moss for the FCT

Alabama has the fifth highest obesity rate in the United States. With cheap junk food readily available and a fast food restaurant on every corner, it’s no surprise. Alabama’s adult obesity rate has steadily risen in the past three decades from 11.2 percent in 1990 to 22.6 percent in 2000 to a whopping 33.5 percent today, according to thestateofobesity.org.

This rise can be attributed to many things, such as lack of sufficient exercise, too much video gaming, fast food and junk food – but most importantly, lack of proper nutritional education.

In coordination with 4-H, Leigh Burks’ third grade class at Vina Elementary School has been involved in a program called Body Quest Health since October. The Nutrition Education Program, conducted by Annette Casteel, provides nutrition education and obesity prevention for school children. The program is targeted for third graders in schools with 50 percent or more of students receiving free/reduced meals.

The students get to use iPads and apps relating to nutritional education. The students play the games and learn about good nutrition habits.

“It is a wonderful program,” said Burks. “Mrs. Casteel, who teaches the program, taught the students the number of fruits and vegetables they need eat on a daily basis. The students could not wait for her to show up in our classroom on Tuesdays.”

Casteel would also bring fruits and vegetables to class for the students to eat.

“The students always look forward to seeing what surprise she brought to them or the fruit and vegetable they would get to try. The students learned so much about how to be healthier eaters. The program also encourages parental involvement in helping their children become better eaters.”

Casteel also conducts the program at Belgreen High School.

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