Aug. 19, 2009
(320) 251-2700, ext. 74980
BLEND, Wise Kids® Programs a success at Lincoln Elementary in St. Cloud
Programs encourage healthy nutrition and exercise choices
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Last September, students enrolled at Lincoln Elementary School in St. Cloud participated in the nationwide Säjai® (pronounced “saw-jay”) Foundation’s Wise Kids program to teach kids about energy balance, and to help them learn to make wise decisions about nutrition and physical activity. Because of its success, BLEND (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily), recently received a grant from the Medica Foundation for $25,000 to expand programming at Lincoln Elementary School.
The Wise Kids program was coordinated by BLEND whose goal is to improve the health of area children by addressing the problem of childhood obesity. BLEND is funded in part by the CentraCare Health Foundation, which received a $10,000 grant from General Mills for the initial Wise Kids program.
The program, offered weekly to students from first through sixth grades, incorporated workbooks, games and activities designed to get kids moving and to make healthy choices. They learned that energy (or calories) in should equal energy (or calories) out to best manage weight and stay healthy. Each student completed an online survey before starting and after completing the program. Survey results were gathered, analyzed and prepared by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Post survey results were very encouraging indicating that the program was beneficial to students.
Specifically, responses to topics such as “I choose the foods I eat because they are good for me,” improved by nine percent; “Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is important to me” improved by 13 percent along with scores on reading labels.
“The impact on children’s attitudes is one of the first steps to behavior change, said Jodi Rohe, BLEND coordinator. “I’m very excited we were awarded this grant from Medica so we can continue this wonderful partnership and offer the Wise Kids II program at Lincoln Elementary this year.”
The Wise Kids curriculum has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s attitudes and behaviors toward healthy living. This is good news according to Rohe who stated, “The earlier we can teach kids about healthy eating and daily physical activity the more likely they are to carry these behaviors into adulthood.”
The Wise Kids program was created by the Säjai Foundation in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The Foundation is a nonprofit organization working to combat childhood obesity by developing wellness programs for youth. NRPA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. For more information on either organization, visit www.sajaifoundation.org or www.nrpa.org.
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