Promoting health to Philadelphia schoolchildren

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Ashleigh Morris and Ashtennie Burton watch "grandpa" lead a sedentary life with poor food choices.

Keeping school-aged children engaged can be challenging but a health promotion practicum group did just that at West Philadelphia’s Belmont Charter School in April. Senior nursing students, led by faculty Debbie Wimmer, MSN, CRNP, assistant clinical professor, assessed learning needs and developed creative teaching plans surrounding nutrition, fitness, choices and health. The young students also learned about checking their pulse and blood pressure.

Ashtennie Burton and Ashleigh Morris were among the nursing students teaching nutrition and physical fitness. They had the children complete a choosemyplate.gov activity. “They filled out what they ate the night before and we went over what is healthy and not, then did a go-slow-whoa board to review what types of food we should always, sometimes and almost never eat,” explains Ashleigh.

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In a fitness skit, "grandma" goes off to exercise.

Actors in the making, several children volunteered to dress up for a lively skit, complete with props. “There was one unhealthy grandpa who watches his shows, eats chips and drinks juice boxes and the other is a grandma ready to jog or walk with her grandson while snacking on granola bars and drinking water,” says Ashleigh, “Then they all talked about getting their family active and healthy.”

Taking a family-centered approach, the nursing students also sent home a parent communication about what they were doing with the children and included information the parents could use to support the learning activity at home.

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Students colored choosemyplate.gov sheets, indicating what they ate for dinner before reviewing their choices with nursing students.
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