Monday, August 24, 2009

In The News: F.A.N. Club!

There's an exciting article in The Columbus Dispatch today! It highlights F.A.N. Club, a program that I'm involved with and very passionate about. You can read the article here...

The newspaper has been highlighting a number of health initiatives that are taking place in the Columbus City Schools. Last week, they highlighted the new food service plan, which includes more fruit and vegetable options. I had the chance to see the new cafeteria decorations highlighting healthy lunch choices and brightly-colored banners of fruits and vegetables, and the staff at Lincoln Park Elementary School was busy assembling the new salad bar!

The article in today's paper focuses on vending machines and after-school programs. Columbus City Schools has taken a drastic measure in their schools by eliminating all soda, juice, and sports drinks vending. Water is the only drink option available. When it comes to food, the empty calorie options will gradually be phased out in favor of healthier choices.

The plan is drastic, because the schools stand to lose thousands of dollars when they discontinue contracts with junk food and soda manufacturers. In the past, schools sought additional revenue by signing on with big corporations, who sponsored schools in exchange for the privilege of marketing to kids and students.

By removing the vending machines, Columbus City Schools has acknowledged that they have a problem... They have a problem with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

That's where F.A.N. Club comes in! F.A.N. Club stands for Fitness and Nutrition Club, and is a part of Nationwide Children's Hosptial pediatric obesity initiative. I have had the privilege of leading the program at Lincoln Park Elementary School for the past 8 months, and nothing could be more rewarding! We "aim to increase participation in physical activity and healthy eating behaviors in children" through educational activities and games. While the program is still young, we're hoping to expand to new schools through generous support, so that we can continue to offer the program to students and their families at no cost.

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