CREATING hEALTHY KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES, AND BELIEFS in schools
This week FIT KID TEXT was featured in: The Cleveland Plain Dealer
School Nutrition Association Smart Briefs
Food Service Director K-12 Spotlight
Smart Briefs for Nutritionists
Healthy nutrition habits are just a text away
Healthy nutrition habits are just a text awaySun News.. Getting kids (and some adults) to eat healthy can often be a challenge. The Avon Lake City School District is offering a Fit Kids Text program designed to give parents some tips for improving eating habits, as well as offering nutrition information the entire family can benefit from receiving.
"This is an idea that has been brewing for some time," said Shannon FitzGerald, dietitian/food service supervisor for the Avon Lake City Schools. "Then I read a research article out of the University of Maryland that correlated healthy behavior change with text messages. I took this research and put my school dietitian slant and experience to it and came up with a concept that would promote school meals, offer nutrition/healthy living education thus fulfilling a school wellness policy requirement as mandated in Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act and communicate healthy happenings at schools."
The "opt in" program is easy to sign up for. You can always opt to receive email messages instead by emailing Shannon@fitkidtext.com
"I send out about one to two each week," said FitzGerald. "The type of texts sent will include items such as tips for overall good nutrition, healthy living, school happenings and school meal promotion. I am limited to 160 characters. This is great as the research shows just getting one main idea across is the goal."
FitzGerald believes school communities are looking for sound healthy living information for themselves and families.
"The ability to connect a dietitian (me) directly to our community with healthy news is a way to accomplish this by using today's savvy technology," she said. "My messages are based on scientific evidence rather than fads or quackery, so those that enroll can depend on credible tips for lifelong health. School Food Service programs have been in the middle of implementing new healthy standards. We have taken a 'hit' with students and parents perception for a variety of reasons over the years. I wanted a tool that embraces the healthy changes and work to bring a positive reputation for what we do day in and day out. I believe the school meals are an extension of the classroom; where if we can help show and teach students and parents healthy ways of living it will eventually lead to healthier communities, reducing obesity and chronic diseases."
The program has proven to be successful and FitzGerald has begun offering the concept to other school districts.
"It is a much needed resource for schools to use-promoting school meals, fulfilling that wellness requirement and communicating healthy happenings in their schools," she said. "It is a great way for schools to utilize a dietitian to connecting an experienced school nutrition expert with other communities."
For more information, log on to fitkidtext.com.