School offers menu of help to teach students healthy living - FOX 13 News

School offers menu of help to teach students healthy living

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As grant-funded studies go, one next year at Lakewood High School is fairly expensive.

At a cost of $100,000, about 50 students will receive a menu of help with their health. On the list: individual medical assessments and oversight, plus one-on-one coaching from a registered dietitian and other culinary and fitness experts.

It’s all to see how to better teach healthy lifestyles.

"We're not talking about dieting, we're not talking about exercise," Pinellas Schools Health Education Supervisor Peggy Johns explained. "We're talking about living a healthy lifestyle and getting kids to transform to that with gradual incremental changes, and making sure kids are ready for those changes too."

All Children’s Hospital will run the program, with the school system's cooperation and interest.

"It's going to be a study to see if it could be replicated in some way, probably over a bigger picture over many years," Johns said.

Lakewood High was selected because of other fitness studies already underway there. For several years, the school has nurtured a culture of healthy living.

"A Lakewood student, when they come to our school, we try to guide them into making some decisions that are going to make them healthy through their years here at Lakewood and beyond," assistant principal Edward Lane said.

Cafeteria offerings are healthy. Vending machines are void of sugar drinks and largely devoid of sugar snacks.

Since the number of students in the study is limited, it will look for participants who both need and want the benefits of lifestyle changes. At a cooking class Monday afternoon, Jacara Edwards experimented with a banana smoothie. She said her interest in such fare was fairly new, and sprang from lessons in a health class.

"Today we have a lot of fast food like McDonald's and Burger King and sometimes we like to eat that stuff a lot," she admitted. "So I felt I might as well eat something healthy now, make it so I can get more interested in it."

Christopher Passley said he learned to eat healthy from his parents, but suspects "...a lot of students I don't think know exactly how and what to eat."

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