By Kimberly Rock-Shelton, Case Manager
One of the programs sponsored by the Health Department dietitians in Clinical Services is the Healthy Challenge for elementary school children. Healthy Challenge is a fun, competitive program to motivate and educate children about developing healthy eating habits and activity choices.
Healthy Challenge is a week long program that encourages children to track their healthy life style goals daily. Those goals consist of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and not consuming sugary drinks like soda, juice drinks, sports or energy drinks; or getting 30 minutes a day of active play or other physical activity.
To motivate children and school staff to track and report their healthy choices 5 of 7 days per week, each school that participates is eligible for prizes. Each school that participates becomes eligible to win a cash prize in several categories. The winning and top schools in each county are also eligible to win a skating party sponsored by Jimmie’s Rollerdrome.
If the school chooses, they may also have a visit from Produce Man (a.k.a. the Health Department employee in Population Health or Nutrition Services that fits well in the costume). Produce Man leads the children in exercise and lends an atmosphere of fun to the serious business of learning about healthy food and activity choices.
This year, 33 schools in Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton Counties participated in 2018 Healthy Challenge. A total of 14,717 students and 1,653 staff participated, with a third successfully completing the challenge.
The Winning Schools by category were Grant’s Lick Elementary in the Small School Category; Reiley Elementary in the Medium School Category; and Mann Elementary in the Large School Category. Sherman Elementary won the Randomly Drawn cash prize. Grant’s Lick Elementary, St Joseph Crescent Springs, Mann Elementary, and Mason Corinth Elementary won the skating parties sponsored by Jimmie’s Rollerdrome.
After completing the program, people commented on how much they enjoyed participating in 2018 Healthy Challenge. Because of the 2018 Healthy Challenge, students and staff were more willing to try new and different types of fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, as part of National Nutrition Month theme “Go Further with Food”, schools were strongly encouraged to try or utilize Share Tables at lunch to provide extra offerings of healthy food for students to take for later, including produce and to minimize food waste.
In conjunction with 2018 Healthy Challenge, schools that participated were also encouraged to register their Healthy Challenge Week as an Every Kid Healthy™ Week for Action for Healthy Kids 6th Annual event on their School Health Portal. As a result, KY showed up as one of the most active states for Every Kid Healthy™ Week events!