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Hettie Halstead Elementary reduces obesity rate through healthy lifestyle curriculum

Special to Leader-Press


Texas has the seventh highest obesity rate for youth ages 10-17 and with more than 600,000 youth in this age group qualifying as obese. In Texas, Hispanic and African American children have nearly twice the rate of obesity compared to non-Hispanic white children according to the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

Hettie Halstead Elementary is bringing positive recognition to the topic of staying active and living a healthy lifestyle to help avoid major health challenges like obesity, diabetes, and most importantly, heart disease.

“I like food and we are learning about making healthier choices,” said fifth grader Devon Soliz.  

Physical Education teacher Lance Garner incorporates good nutrition lessons into his classes by teaching the five food groups using the food pyramid. Students created their own well-balanced meals using their imagination, paper plates, construction paper, glue, scissors, and crayons. Administrative staff judged the plates and selected the top five from each grade level based on the creativity of the food choices.   

“I had fun making this project,” said fifth grader Adriana Francois. “I didn’t know that peppers were vegetables. I thought they were fruit. So, I’m learning a lot.”

Students do not realize how much they are learning while having fun with the hands-on project.

“I’m learning to eat healthy food and that the bread on pizzas is part of the grains group,” fifth grader Sebrina Tucker said.

Childhood obesity results in extra health care costs on average of $12,900 more per child than a child with normal weight. Educational attainment is associated with lifetime earnings. Obesity in childhood is associated with poorer educational outcomes including lower grade point averages, lower reading and math scores, and more school absences.

“The students have really enjoyed this activity and sharing their knowledge on the five food groups,” Garner said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to make a change in the lives of my students and hope they will continue down a path of making healthier choices while still enjoying treats now and again.”

Copperas Cove ISD Child Nutrition Department meals, including both breakfast and lunch, meet federal nutrition guidelines providing food from all five groups in the food pyramid. 


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