This is the second part of an interview with social worker Shelby Schroeder of OASIS, working with young children about a getting a jump start on a healthy life style. Their funder is Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation.
Patch: How do you get young kids to focus in on healthy eating after they’ve been in the classroom all day long.
Schroeder: There’s a saying with CATCH Healthy Nutrition “If its not fun, it won’t get done. It is not a class. We tell our volunteers to make everything relevant to the kids and use an evidence based curriculum but it is different for each group of kids we work with.
The reason our program is K to 5th grade is statistics show that once they hit middle school, they really have a decline in their physical activity. That’s when they decide to become really physically active or begin to drop out altogether.
We use constant reminders to get them to remember all the way into their adulthood.
Healthy living is a lifestyle, it’s not a diet that you just do for a couple of months.
No matter what’s happening at home, or what they hear in middle school, we want them to have a foundation of healthy living to carry over the rest of their lives.
We have go foods and no foods and nothing is bad and pursue activities.
Right now, we are on a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to start somewhere.
Each week, the kids do take home handouts that are meant to get to the families. If kids come home and ask for more brocolli or canteloup the parents listen.
Patch: Don’t you have to do some physical activity to go along with a proper diet.
Schroeder: Some of the handouts will suggest what you can do for a family. Go for a walk, play games, little tips that are feasible for any family to do.
Patch: Is the epidemic works than we think it is.
Schroeder: Yes it is and it is across every demographic group. One of our volunteers is so passionate about the subject and wanted to do this for her kids realized how often she used to take them through the drive throughs. Now that they are adults, they have become accustomed to doing that it becomes a vicious cycle.
Is it fast food, is it spring time, a busy lifestyle. Every community has a different issue.
The epidemic is now going global. As a country and as a planet, obesity is effecting everyone. From developed nations to developing nations, we have a problem.
Statistically, 30 percent of adults are overweight and 30 percent are obese.
It’s one thing to have the flu and take a shot or a pill. But for weight control, its really challenging to find a solution. Its just a lifestyle. You have to have a culture of eating well and staying active every day.
Kids have so much competition for their time. Do you want to run around the track or play the newest video game.
You have to make it fun for kids and adults.
Patch: Is OASIS changing their focus by working with children.
Schroeder: Its the inter-generational piece. Our newest program is an inter-generational advocacy program, being launched this year. This is a continuim of CATCH healthy habits.What is good for kids is good for adults.
Patch: Are you able to dialogue with those who run food services for the schools.
Schroeder: I don’t know, but that’s a good idea. We need to identify which foods can be changed to help kids and adults lead to healthier lives.
Patch: What did we miss.
Schroeder: I wanted to talk about playing outside when you were a little kid. We want our volunteers to bring in ideas that worked well when they were younger. Jumping rope is so simple. When I was a kid, it was jump rope for heart. Kids love it.
Catch Healthy Habits has a Credo they live by: “You can change a life, one celery stick at a time.”
Fall 2012 locations:
- Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis (N. Grand & Vista Avenue)
- Beyond Housing Pagedale Family Support Center
- Jennings Gary Gore Elementary School
- Ladue Old Bonhomme Elementary School
- St. Charles School District.
Next: Connie Jander, physical education teacher at Old Bonhomme School in Olivette talks about her work in this area.