ENGLEWOOD, N.J., Aug. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Birthday cupcakes and low sugar food lists are being replaced this back-to-school season at Dr. Leroy McCloud Elementary School, Englewood, NJ with HealthBarn® USA's Healthy Lifestyle Birthday Enrichment Program beginning September 25 and supported by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Bergen-Passaic Chapter (NCBW) and in collaboration with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). With national and local school concerns about high sugar intake and food allergies, planning school birthday celebrations has become increasingly complicated for administrators and parents. Dr. Leroy McCloud Elementary School is the first school in NJ to collaborate monthly with HealthBarn USA to offer over 600 students a fun, hands-on 45-minute birthday experience that includes exercise, culinary activities and nutrition education in school.
Research indicating that empty calories from added sugars and fats contribute up to 40% of daily calories consumed by children and adolescents.1 Such poor diets in children have been shown to negatively impact academic performance and increase their risk of becoming overweight and developing health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).2 In addition to health concerns, considerations for food allergies and sensitivities have further limited acceptable options for celebratory treats. "As a school, we have the ability to support our students' academic performance by serving nutritious foods, and also provide opportunities for them to learn about healthy lifestyle behaviors," said Ketsia A. Sadler, EdD, RN, CHES, School Nurse, Dr. Leroy McCloud Elementary. "Programs like HealthBarn USA's Healthy Lifestyle Birthday Enrichment Program enables us to feel safe about what our students are eating under our roof, while bringing the fun and joy back to classroom birthday celebrations, added Sadler."
HealthBarn USA is the leader in proven, hands-on healthy-lifestyle education for children and families. The unique curricula emphasize the importance of where food comes from and why eating fresh is best for a healthy body. "We are excited to show that healthy does translate to fun birthday memories for students while also planting seeds of good nutrition," stated Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, founder, HealthBarn USA and author, Appetite for Life. "We believe this healthy lifestyle birthday enrichment program developed for Dr. Leroy McCloud Elementary School is an important milestone in working with schools to find sustainable solutions for the health and well-being of children and their families," added Antine.
School districts nationwide have been limiting sweets and treats in the classroom, at bake sales and in the lunchroom. "It is crucial that our school district not only focus on the educational well-being of our students but that we also take an interest in their nutritional well-being," said Englewood Superintendent Robert Kravitz. "How our students perform in the classroom is without a doubt connected to their health, which is why we are taking such a proactive approach to nutrition. Starting good exercise and eating habits in elementary school will set our students up for future success."
HealthBarn USA's Healthy Lifestyle Birthday Enrichment Program at Dr. Leroy McCloud Elementary begins on September 25 and continues as follows: October 16, November 13, and December 11, 2019; and January 15, February 12, March 11, April 15, May 13, and June 10, 2020 (August birthdays to be celebrated September, July birthdays to be celebrated in June).
- Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM. Dietary Sources of Energy, Solid fats, and Added Sugars Among Children and Adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:1477–1484.
- US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/External.
Julia Sharkey Buckley, MS, RDN
SOURCE HealthBarn USA, Inc.