Rochester, NY - It's all about planting the seeds and letting them grow, according to Alyvia Burkey.
As Thompson Health System's Community Health Educator, she visits classrooms across Ontario County to teach kids how to stay fit by eating the right foods.
It's called the "Get up! Fuel up!" program.
"The healthy choice today isn't the easy choice," said Burkey. "There's a lot working against kids and parents in terms of getting kids to make the healthy choice and ask for those healthy choices."
One lesson at Midlakes Intermediate School in Clifton Springs included a chef from the nearby New York Wine and Culinary center.
He's teaching a sixth grade class to make their own popcorn recipes from scratch.
It's just one of the hands-on programs Burkey uses to get the students involved.
She's also found making healthy choices begins with self-image, so empowering the kids is also an important part of "Get up! Fuel up!"
Burkey added "It's pointless to expect a child to make a healthy choice if they don't love themselves and want to take care of their bodies. So the whole foundation is 'health at any size", where I teach the kids about body image and self-esteem to accept body diversity."
Burkey began the program in 2007, and today many of the schools conduct the programs on their own with support from Thompson Health Systems.
She estimates close to a thousand students in 7 Ontario County school districts and their families have gotten her message.
"We're trying to make a cultural shift in the districts that are in the primary service area," Burkey added. "We want it to be something that just continues to grow and we want the districts to be centers for health and wellness for our students."
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