Project Healthy Schools

Michigan program teaches 6th graders healthy ways

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Project Healthy Schools is a program aimed at helping 6th graders in Ann Arbor, Michigan, find better food options, exercise ideas, and educational activities. The program is based at the University of Michigan and has recently come to the Metro Detroit area.

According to the Project Healthy Schools' website, national statistics show that more than 9 million kids are categorized as either overweight or obese. The overwhelming number is three times more than what it was in 1980.

Project Healthy Schools helps motivate kids to become healthier.

"We work to help replace items that may be high fat with a lower fat item or eliminate some foods like the two-for-one hot dog and replace that with a different option, such as a turkey hot dog," Program Manager Jean DuRussel-Weston told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. "We talk to (kids) about how advertising sometimes tries to trick you into buying things that are not healthy and look cool to eat a specific kind of food."

There are consequences to unhealthy eating, and the list of conditions that can happen can go on and on. Heart disease and diabetes are two potential effects of eating too much unhealthy food. Poor food choices can also affect your physical appearance, as well as how you use your brain, especially when it comes to schoolwork.

"There are studies that show that kids that have a healthy balance do better in academics because they feel better if they eat breakfast and if they exercise," DuRussel-Weston explained.

Whether it is making a healthier choice in your school lunchroom, at home, or at a restaurant, anybody can find a substitute to unhealthy foods. It just takes commitment.

To learn more about Project Healthy Schools and to find healthy recipes, visit projecthealthyschools.org.

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