4-H holds "Health Day" at Oliver Hoover Elementary
(MIAMI, March 12, 2013) – As part of a state-wide 4-H partnership with United Healthcare entitled “Eat 4-Health”, twelve youth from the 4-H District XIII Council held a health day at Oliver Hoover Elementary School.
With obesity becoming an epidemic in our country, 4-H teen health ambassadors from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties are developing community-focused events that engage youth in learning about healthy lifestyles. By offering interactive educational activities, youth are guided in developing positive perspectives on health and nutrition. The event at Oliver Hoover Elementary consisted on three stations, through which 145 5th-grade students rotated during the course of the school day.
At the “Sugar Station,” students looked at the sugar content in different drinks. It was established that “go drinks,” such as 1% low fat milk, non-dairy milks, and water were the best drinks to have on a regular basis. “Slow drinks,” such as 100% fruit juice and flavored milks, while containing many healthy nutrients, still contain a great amount of sugar. It was recommended that students only consume 6 ounces of “slow drinks” a day. The “stop drinks” featured a variety of sodas, energy drinks, fruit punch, lemonade, and iced tea, and were found to be full of sugar with absolutely no nutritional value. Students counted out teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar, to discover that a 20 ounce bottle of cola has 17 teaspoons of sugar! Anyone who drinks one of these containers a day for a year would be eating as much as 30 pounds of sugar in a year!
At the “Fast Food Station,” students compared the fat content in different kinds of fast foods, whether from a restaurant or from pre-packaged or frozen items purchased to eat at home. They found that many burgers, sandwiches, and even salads can have anywhere from 6 to 9 teaspoons of fat in them. In order to get a visual picture of what they sometimes eat, the students created “blubber burgers” as they counted out teaspoons of butter to represent the fat content in many fast foods. Participants practiced checking the fat content of different items from various fast food restaurant menus and were encouraged to make healthier choices when they do choose to eat fast foods.
The third station gave students practice on reading Nutrition Fact Labels from different products. At this station, they learned to check the serving size, the number of servings per containers, and the sugar and fat content in different products. The station focused on encouraging students to make healthier snack choices as students explored the fat and sugar content of various snack products by reading the labels and then lining themselves up in order from least to greatest content. The importance of exercise as part of a healthy life style was also emphasized and students did some fun exercises while at this station.
4-H is a volunteer youth organization open to children ages five (5) through 18. It is part of the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension which is a joint project of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and the University of Florida. For more information on 4-H call 305-592-8044 or visit http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu.