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Better Health Can Start at School

Image credited to LeslieRhodesStories.com

Veteran reporter Leslie Rhode recently tagged along with Dr. Jaimie Davis and the Texas Sprouts program as they worked with children at Oak Meadows Elementary.  On that day, the fifth graders learned to distinguish whole from processed foods as well as make small caprese salads with basil harvested from their school garden.

Texas Sprouts aims to educate children and their families about healthy eating. Oak Meadows Elementary is just one of 16 school that will be part of a large research project that includes health screenings, garden plots, cooking, and lessons in nutrition.

As noted in LeslieRhodeStories.com:

"They're getting to plant things," said Jaimie Davis. "They're getting to take care of things. Weed. Water. And then eventually pick it and help make a meal with it."

The goal of the Texas Sprouts project is to encourage the children to take their nutritional knowledge home and teach their families how to eat healthy. The research will span three school years, involve sixteen schools and more than one thousand children ages seven through ten. The students have blood drawn and health screenings at the beginning and end of each school year. Already after the first round of screenings, Davis realizes she has her mission cut out for her. She says 30 to 50 percent of the overweight kids screened have pre-diabetes.

"We're seeing a huge increase in childhood obesity," said Davis. "We're seeing also a huge increase in metabolic diseases associated with childhood obesity. Our kids aren't just getting chubby anymore. So they're getting a lot more other co-morbidities associated with it. Type 2 diabetes risk factors. Cardiovascular risk factors."

Read the full profile at LeslieRhodeStories.com