Schools take part in healthy living program
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 13:27

Students at Norwood Elementary are using the My Healthy World e-platform.  photo by Roland Dorsey

Holabird Middle participates in health program

by Nicole Rodman

    According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past three decades childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents.
    As of 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
    In order to combat these alarming statistics, many schools are implementing programs to reverse the trend.
    At both Holabird Middle and Norwood Elementary schools, the My Healthy World program is aiming to teach students healthy living habits in a fun, accessible way.
    Sponsored locally by managed care organization Maryland Physicians Care, My Healthy World (MHW) is a company that creates computer  and curriculum programs designed to teach chilldren healthy eating and living habits.
    At Norwood Elementary, MHW begin as a pilot program aimed at the school’s fifth-graders.
    Using lessons developed in part by Norwood teacher Clare Kruft, who organizes the school’s program, Norwood health, technology and physical education teachers worked with students on the computer-based interactive lessons.
    With the expansion of MHW this year, Norwood was again tapped to bring the program to its students.
    “Our fifth-graders are beginning to try out the new version now, and our fourth-graders plan to try some of the activities before the end of this year, too,” Kruft told The Eagle last week.
    According to Kruft, the program has has opened the eyes of students who previously knew little about making healthy choices.
    Using MHW’s electronic platform, Kruft and other Norwood teachers have engaged students in hands-on activities designed to teach children what to look for when making food choices.
    With activities such as examining nutritrion labels and designing healthy meals, students have begun not only understanding good nutrition, but practicing it as well.
    As Kruft noted, “Now the students are reading the nutrition labels of the breakfast and lunch items they get in the school cafeteria, and parents are telling us that they’re glad their children are asking them about healthy choices at home.”
    Thrilled with their success, Norwood soon informed Holabird Middle School principal Julie Dellone about the program.
    Now, thanks to a $10,000 donation of 30 new laptop computers, Holabird Middle has the resources to implement the program.
    Donated by Maryland Physicians Care and MHW, the new laptops will enable students in health classes to access MHW’s e-platform and curriculum.
    According to Dellone, the program will begin with the school’s seventh-grade students. Sixth- and eighth-grade students will be evetually be incorporated into the program as well.
    The new computers were delivered, among much fanfare, to the school last Wednesday.
    Showing up in their Healthy Groove Mobile, Maryland Physicians Care staff not only brought the new computers, but stayed to present a cooking demonstration to seventh-grade students.
    The assembly was attended by a number of Baltimore County Public School (BCPS), My Healthy World and Maryland Physicians Care dignitaries.
    In addition to principal Julie Dellone, speakers included Sally Nazelrod, coordinator of the BCPS  Office of Physical Education, who spoke of the “great opportunity” the new MHW program presented for students at the school.
    Also on hand was Debbie Phelps, president of the BCPS Education Fund.
    Phelps, most famous as the mother of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, acts as liason between BCPS and private companies to provide resources and opportunities to BCPS students.
    In his remarks, MHW president, CEO and founder Nelson Rosenbaum offered a number of alarming statistics, such as the fact that 34 percent of youth under age 20 are overweight or obese.
    Telling students that “you have to be at the forefront of this,” Rosenbaum urged the assembled youth to be proactive and take control of their own health.
    Finally, Maryland Physicians Care CEO Cindy Demarest got up and spoke briefly about her organization’s role in bringing the MHW program, and laptops, to Holabird Middle.
    “Maryland Physicians Care is honored to participate in this very important initiative.”
    Following these remarks, Maryland Physicians Care staff gave a healthy cooking demonstration, preparing chicken-mango salsa for the students.
    As they cooked, staffers asked nutrition questions, such as the names of the five food groups, and gave prizes for correct answers.
    Afterwards, students lined up for a chance to taste a sample of the delicious healthy treat.
    For Holabird principal Julie Dellone, the program is invaluable for her students.
    As Dellone explained in to The Eagle last week, “My Healthy World will provide our students with the opportunity to access an e-platform which provides information regarding eating, living and staying healthy.”
    She added, “This e-platform will enhance the current health curriculum and provide students access to information about healthy living in and out of school.”
    As part of their participation in the MHW program, both Holabird and Norwood will participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” Summit Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 7. 
    Both schools will be represented by Norwood principal Patrice Goldys.
    By participating in such events and using tools such as the MHW’s e-platform and curriculum, students at Holabird and Norwood are getting a jump on making the healthy choices that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
    For more information on MHW, visit the web at www.myhealthyworld.com.