One out of every three kids eats fast food at least four times a week, according to a student who teaches nutrition in Hamilton schools.
With this statistic in mind, senior Susie Campbell will continue her program of teaching children about the importance of eating healthy.
Last year, she taught children about nutrition during an after-school program sponsored by Mercer Street Friends, an organization based in Trenton that provides after-school assistance.
“We didn’t want to give the students the same information that they got from everybody else,” Campbell said. “That was the one thing that I was very adamant about. I said if we’re going to do anything, I want to make sure that it’s completely new and something that the kids will take away with them.”
Campbell taught the program for the first time last March.
The program lasted five weeks and covered areas of nutrition such as following the food pyramid, choosing healthy snacks and drinks, exercising daily and making healthy choices at fast-food restaurants.
The volunteer is taking her program a step further this year. The program will expand to six Hamilton elementary schools: Klockner, Kuser, Greenwood, Wilson, McGalliard and Lalor. Rider students who are involved with the Bonner Scholar Program, a community service- based initiative, or are simply interested in contributing, are welcome to get involved.
“I’m going to take my curriculum that I put together and I’m going to teach it to other students and other people who are willing to help,” Campbell said.
Susan Jones, the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank agency services coordinator who oversaw the project, said Campbell’s program was a
“Susie connected great with the children,” she said.
The program will begin during the last week of March and run for six weeks. Campbell is planning an informational session and encourages education majors to get involved because it gives them firsthand
“For me, I have a really great sense of pride in this program,” she said. “I would love to effect change and make people stand up and see certain things that they might not have seen before.”
Hamilton students between 5 and 9 years old were involved in the after-school program. Campbell explained that nutrition programs are crucial because the obesity rate is high in America and it is important for young people to be aware of how they can stay healthy.
Some nutrition lessons showed students how to eat healthier by replacing ice cream sundaes with yogurt sundaes.
Campbell pointed out to the students how much sugar was in each serving of several popular drinks. She also explained that there are more ways to exercise than just doing pushups, crunches and going to gym class.
Campbell said that as she was teaching she could see “light bulbs go on in these kids.”