BJC School Outreach and Youth Development, on behalf of Memorial Hospital Belleville and Memorial Foundation, provided health education lessons to 1,175 kindergarten through 12th grade youth in 2019-2020. The initiative focused on improving nutrition education through classroom-based programs for students living in Memorial Hospital’s service area. Both physical activity and nutrition lessons are taught to help students learn and develop skills for healthier living. The initiative began as part of the implementation plan for Memorial’s Community Health Needs Assessment to improve the health of youth in the region.
Students and school staff complete program evaluations. The following comments are from those evaluations. A student reported, “I know the dangers of fast foods and can eat healthier now,” and another student stated, “I learned the nutrition labels are changing and I can help my family eat better.” School staff and teachers reported, “Students are asking more questions about their lunches and trying to make a healthy plate,” and ”I overheard a conversation between two students about eating more fruits and vegetables.” One teacher also stated, “I need to be a better, more healthy role model for my class.”
"The funding from the Memorial Hospital Belleville Foundation began in early 2019 and helps offset health education prevention program costs as well as professional development for school nurses."
-Denise Strehlow, BJC School Outreach & Youth Development
BJC School Outreach and Youth Development began in 1991 with classroom-based health education programs. The programs and descriptions are listed here:
- “Fun”tastic Nutrition is a four-session program focused on nutrition education and building healthy eating skills kindergarten through fifth grade.
- SNEAKERS is a four-session program focused on the importance of physical activity and nutrition on the body systems for sixth through eighth grade.
- Explore Health is a four-session program focused on nutrition and health to equip middle and high school students with the skills to make informed health decisions.
- Fast Food Facts is one session focused on fast foods and convenience foods to help students better understand the impact on the health of the body. This is designed for sixth to eighth grade students with information suitable for all audiences.
- Heart Health is one session focused on the relationship between heart health, physical activity and nutrition for fifth grade through high school.
In 2019 and 2020, the schools and programs included Central Junior High students who received Explore Health, Fast Food Facts and Heart Health; West Junior High students who received Explore Health; Ellis Elementary students, Jefferson Elementary students and Roosevelt Elementary students received “Fun”tastic Nutrition; and Harmony Elementary students received SNEAKERS. Katie Hoehn, BJC Health Educator/Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist stated, “The students are engaged and are fun to teach.”
COVID-19 interrupted the in-person classroom programs and provided an opportunity to recreate lessons for the new virtual classroom platforms. Devon Murray, BJC Health Educator/Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist stated, “Virtual learning challenged our team to be creative in changing the lessons but has been a lot of fun to explore new ideas.”
The School Outreach team created pre-recorded lessons for teachers that they just need to plug in and play during this time of blended learning for both at home students and in person. All the content is ready to go! Students take an online pre- and post-test, and each lesson is a recorded presentation with supplemental worksheets, games or additional videos. These can be sent as links, played in a classroom, or teachers can play the videos during a virtual session and send the supplemental links.
Explore Health, Fast Food Facts and Heart Health are ready for schools. Both pre-recorded and virtual classroom presentations are available. Contact our team to request options for pre-recorded and virtual classroom presentations. The School Outreach team members are excited to provide programs to help students make healthier choices.
For additional information about BJC HealthCare School Outreach and Youth Development and the programs we provide, visit www.bjcschooloutreach.org or contact the School Program line at 314-286-0460.
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