Spreading the word about good nutrition, on and off campus
Morgan Bishop teaches kindergartners they can eat rainbows.
She can explain.
“It’s all about teaching children how they can make smart choices with food by eating a rainbow of healthy fruits and vegetables,” she said.
Bishop, a sophomore nursing major from Radford, recently visited kindergarten students at Harding Elementary School in Blacksburg to teach them about making healthy food choices, particularly those fresh red, orange, yellow and green fruits and veggies.
To do so, she sang a clever song called “I Can Eat a Rainbow.”
Bishop’s presentation was part of Jyotsna Sharman’s “Introduction to Nutrition” honors course, in which students learn the relationship between good nutrition and health at various stages of life and in different lifestyles. Later in the semester, students were encouraged to share their new knowledge with campus and community groups.
“The high-performing students enrolled in the Honors Academy section of this course were challenged to plan a presentation to educate individuals on nutritional recommendations consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” said Sharman, an associate professor of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Bishop chose to talk with kindergarteners because “by teaching children at a young age to make healthy choices, we can prevent the rise in childhood obesity and chronic diseases later on in life,” she explained to an audience at the Scholar-Citizen Symposium on April 19.
Dance major Sarah Danaceau presented information to fellow majors about cross training and performance nutrition. “Dancers are athletes, so proper nutrition is important in order to take care of our bodies,” she said.
Many students, such as Grace Currey, talked with campus groups. Currey presented to freshmen female students about “what a healthy diet looks like.” She provided tips for healthy dieting, and delved into the role exercise plays in healthy eating.
“I know a lot of girls who suffer with body image issues, and I want to teach those who do watch what they’re eating how to do that healthily without harming their bodies,” Currey said.
Many students spoke with community and church groups. Madison Williams presented to girls in a small Bible study group about “treating your body like a temple,” she said.
“I gave them general health tips on how to have a healthy diet and how to start an exercise program,” Williams said.
The class effort provided students with opportunities to use their acquired nutrition knowledge purposefully in real-life situations and encouraged them to develop their personal efficacy, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
“The goal of the project was to help individuals either on campus or in the broader community to make healthy food choices, adopt healthy nutrition-related practices, change eating behavior and/or enhance their nutritional well-being,” Sharman said.
At Harding Elementary, Bishop worked with the children on an activity that challenged them to sort foods into healthy and unhealthy categories. They also completed a worksheet to match colors with fruits and vegetables.
“The children were very excited about all the activities,” Bishop said.
However, it was the song that captured their imaginations.
“They loved it so much we sang it twice,” she said.