HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – A Hastings agency and university partnered up on Tuesday to help kids see the value of fitness and nutrition.
For the past 18 years South Heartland District Health Department has partnered with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the YMCA to host Kids Fitness and Nutrition Day. Bag lunches were provided by University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Beef Counsel. They invited fourth graders from Adams, Nuckolls, Clay, and Webster County.
Coordinator Brooke Wolfe said there were 375 kids in attendance. The event was from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 18th Street YMCA in Hastings. There were 14 stations teaching kids about physical activity and nutrition.
Wolfe said the event is important because it teaches kids how physical activity and nutrition plays a daily role in life, and she said fourth graders are the perfect audience.
“With the partnership for UNK they ask us to do fourth graders,” said Wolfe. “It’s a good group that they can comprehend things, are engaged in learning, excited about learning and there also able to be active on their own.”
Wolfe said as society continues to become faster paced, it leads to more processed food and less exercise. She said they wanted kids to see that physical activity band learning about nutrition is fun. Kids learned nutritional values in portion control, energy balance, hand washing, and they learned how to read a food label.
“Hopefully start some healthy habits now that they’ll be able to carry on until and through adulthood,” said Alise Verhage, UNL Nutrition Education and Registered Dietitian. “Just like choosing water to drink between meals rather than grabbing that soda. Just simple changes like that can really make an impact on their future.”
Verhage said kids have more food and snack choices available to them than in years past. She said high sugar and energy drink companies are starting to market towards kids.
Which is why going back to the basics of drinking milk and water is needed to help our youth live a healthy lifestyle. She said kids should drink soda and juice in moderation. According to America’s health ranking, 28.7% of Nebraska youth age 10 to 17 are obese. Officials said adults can also learn from the event by simply asking their kids questions.
“Ask them about their day,’ said Wolfe. “What did they learn? What about their meal is good or bad or nutritious? What things can they reinforce about today? .And then again just get active with your kids.”
Wolfe said sometimes finding time to be physically active is hard, but make your kids a part of it. Because they always enjoy physical activity if you’re playing games. Verhage said, in order to have healthy kids you must have healthy adults.
“Eating healthy starts you know, the earlier you can start the better, even with as toddlers and younger; just to teach them,” said Verhage. “Leading by example is the most important thing I think that we can do as adults to help these kids succeed and to be healthy as they grow up.”
Verhage said the kids had fun and can’t wait to tell their family about it.
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