Clarke County has applied for a grant from Wellmark that will enable the elementary school to continue its Nutrition Education Program (NEP). If the school receives the grant, it plans to purchase vending machines with healthy snack options.
The grant will also be used to fund models and other hands-on opportunities that allow students to observe the importance of a healthy lifestyle. For example, elementary school students will study healthy foods and recipes that they may not have previously been exposed to at home. The students will then be asked to incorporate these foods into their family meals and report on the experience.
In the video below, Molly Crawford, Clarke County Food & Nutrition Program Coordinator, provides additional detail on NEP and the importance it has with students at all age-levels.
The reason for launching NEP at the elementary level is the strong likelihood that young students will continue healthy habits as adults. When kids start out their lives eating healthy foods, they’re more likely to keep making healthy choices when they get older. The elementary school hopes to enhance NEP to ensure a healthy future for Osceola.
To evaluate the program’s success, the school plans to utilize the Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Challenge dashboard. The 10 Week Challenge is an existing program that encourages Iowans to improve their health while engaging in fun activities. Over the course of the Challenge, people can track food intake, physical activity and weight. Food intake data can be compared over time, which allows the elementary school to measure the impact of students’ access to healthy snack options.
The 10 Week Challenge tracks about 2.5 months’ worth of data, which should demonstrate behavioral changes in the short-term. A 10% increase in the amount of students who meet national recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption indicates success of NEP during the grant period.
The Wellness Committee will share initial NEP results with staff, students and parents at the end of the grant period. If the school receives the Wellmark grant, the Nutrition Education Program should leave our elementary school students in good shape for the future.
If you have questions about the Nutrition Education Program you can contact Clarke County Extension, Web: www.extension.iastate.edu/clarke/, Email: [email protected] or call 641-342-3316. If you would like more information on the Wellmark grant, please contact Clarke County Development Corporation’s Elizabeth Simpson at [email protected] or call 641-342-2944.