... formally known as Drive 2 Fitness at our school. It's a wonderful program that our two gym teachers put together for our students. Last year, our school received a National Award for encouraging and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Our gym teachers are trying to encourage more teachers to participate this year, as we all know that kids need positive roll models and if any kids need positive roll models, it would be our school clientele.
The goal is to earn points each day for certain behaviors. A person can earn 2 points per healthy behavior; earning a maximum of 10 points per day. Point sheets are handed in the 1st of every month and the students with the top scores each month have their picture posted in the hallway. A student can work towards the year-end party, needing a certain number of points. Grades 1-3 attend a hotel water park in town for half a day and Grades 4-5 head to Grand Forks for the day to play at the water park.
Here is the five healthy behaviors:
1. 1 hour of exercise - this follows the NFL's Play 60 initiative to encourage kids to play at least 60 minutes a day.
2. 5+ fruits/veggies - our school lunches are slowly improving - so many fruits and veggies are offered with lunch every day. However, I still think they have a long way to go.. Some lunches are filled with way too many carbs.
3. eat breakfast AND try school snack - It's so important to encourage kids to eat breakfast every morning. Many of us adults skip breakfast due to the rush of the morning and getting kids ready for school - what are we promoting?! I know I didn't start eating a healthy breakfast regularly until I was out of college!
Due to a high poverty level at our school (40%+ - numbers are based on students who are on free and reduced lunches/breakfasts), we have qualified for a grant from the state of North Dakota that allows us to provide 1 morning snack to all of our students. The snacks consist of fruits and veggies, starting with something simple and hopefully moving into more exotic snacks that kids are not usually exposed to. Some of the snacks the kids have received so far consist of apples, plums, nectarines, kiwi, oranges, etc. So far, things are going really well and the kids are enjoying it.
4. Less than 1 hour of screen time - So many kids (and adults - including ME!) spend too much time in front of the tv screen and/or computer screen each day. This includes playing video games. Stats show that two thirds of toddlers and infants watch approximately 2 hours of tv every day, kids under 6 watch 2 hours of tv every day - which includes tv and video games, and kids and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 spend 4 hours a day watching tv and 2 hours a day on the computer (outside of homework) and playing video games! Wow!
Did you know that television in moderation can be a good thing? We all know that there are education videos out there. However, there are also some negatives: increases obesity, negative behaviors (ie. violence, bullying, etc.) and sense of anxiety (from watching scary and inappropriate tv/movies), and it reinforces gender-role and racial stereotypes.
5. No sugary drinks - When I asked to clarify the specifics of this, I was happy to hear that this includes Gatorade and Powerade, as well as soda. So many kids drink so much of those juices and they have so much sugar in them.
It's so fun to see these kids get excited about such a program! I look forward to playing along and hoping to share my excitement for a healthy lifestyle with my students and my co-workers!
What kind of things are you doing to promote a healthy lifetsyle at work or with your kids?