(From SSM Health St Francis News Service – Rita Miller)
MARYVILLE, MO (MAR 21, 2018) – From learning about insulin to recognizing that gasoline and rat poison have some the same chemicals as cigarette smoke, fourth graders at South Nodaway in Barnard and Eugene Field in Maryville recently took part in an eight-week wellness program, Health 4 Life, sponsored by SSM Health St. Francis Hospital.
Initiated and led by Tara Hull, high school senior, the Health 4 Life program was developed to teach concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention, use repetition to encourage healthy habits, and practice health-enhancing behaviors to avoid or reduce risks. The program also advocates for personal, family and community health.
“Health 4 Life teaches fourth graders about diabetes and obesity, the importance of proper nutrition and exercise, the dangers of tobacco smoke, and stress management and yoga,” Hull said. “The students use a points system to help develop behaviors that encourage them make healthy choices that we hope lead to life-long wellness.”
Students track their daily activities such as nutrition, exercise, teeth brushing, helping with meal preparations, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water and minimized screen time. They receive points for all the activities they do and receive incentives each week to encourage participation. Prizes include jump ropes, water-bottle wet suits, Frisbees, drawstring sport packs, lunch bags, and a Health 4 Life t-shirts.
“Health 4 Life has the potential to shape the health habits of these children for years to come,” said Hull. “In the future, we hope to expand the program to cover all the schools in the county.”
At the end of the eight-week program, a celebration was held that included a donation to the school to support health and fitness programs.
St. Francis sponsored the program as part of its healthy communities focus on prevention of heart disease and obesity as identified through their community health needs assessment. For more information, contact Rita Miller, Community Relations and Development Manager, at 660-562-7933.
Photos: Small group is South Nodaway with Tara Hull presenting the donation to Darbi Bauman, principal. Larger group is Eugene Field 4th graders with Tara Hull presenting check to Brian Lynn, principal. Also pictured as part of the check presentation are: Jamie Baker, Tobacco Prevention Specialist with MO’s Department of Health & Senior Services; Dr. Sally Bomar, family practice physician with SSM Health Medical Group; Tara; Mr. Lynn; Nic Mattson, Elementary PE Teacher at Eugene Field; Teri Harr, volunteer; and Jackie Ross, Community Health Resource Nurse at SSM Health St. Francis Hospital.