When Michigan State University medical researchers were looking for someone to work with them on a childhood obesity prevention project in the Grand Rapids public schools, they immediately turned to MSU Extension. According to Betty Blase, Kent CED, such a partnership is a natural fit for a county office that’s familiar with nutrition education in schools.
The Kent County Coordinated School Health program has been working to have school health teams to identify ways they can improve the health of children in their schools. That relationship will be carried through with the FIT initiative, a Blue Cross Blue Shield-funded initiative that will focus on four elementary schools and surrounding neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. The goal is to reduce childhood obesity by increasing physical activity, improving nutrition and collaborating with school staff and parents.
Kent County MSUE is charged with providing technical assistance and training around nutrition education and physical education curricula, and with helping teachers integrate nutrition education and daily structured physical activity. It’s an exciting project that the group hopes will be sustainable long after the grant money runs out.
You can read more about the grant here. Are you doing something in your area to help keep childhood obesity in check? Tell us about it in the comments’ section.