With one in four American children overweight or obese, combating the epidemic takes consistent effort for change. ProMedica Health Sytem’s Fields of Green Program is an umbrella program that includes the majority of the organization’s obesity fighting initiatives. One of their most well known initiatives is their annual scholarship program. Last year, the PB Jammers, a 4-student group from Perrysburg High School, submitted the winning entry for the Lunch 101: Food For Thought Scholarship Competition.
Their 10-day diet plan, which included tasty dishes like ground turkey tacos, build your own salads, and English muffin pizzas, substituted the usual cafeteria food at McKinley Elementary school for two weeks. “The students loved it,” says Stephanie Cihon, ProMedica’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “It showed that several small changes can add up to make a difference. The food still tasted great and made an impact from a nutritional standpoint.”The winning entry also included an exercise component (called the “Pencil Song”) which was used at McKinley until the end of the school year.
This year, the competition is called Fields of Green, and will also include development of a health and fitness plan for elementary school kids, with a 20-30 minute exercise program and nutritious snack options. However, the development of a lunch meal has been taken off the competition menu.
“We wanted it to be different this year,” explains Cihon. Plus, the exercise portion is more flexible for schools. “School districts have to prepare so many meals, and they have particular guidelines that they have to follow. The exercise program can be worked into the gym curriculum, or before and after school programs.”However, ProMedica has collected all of the menus from last year’s scholarship competition as a resource for local schools. “We also have a great group of dieticians that are part of our staff. We’re a great resource for schools.”Members of the winning group will each earn a $5,000 college scholarship, and the schools that the winners attend will each receive a $1,000 cash award for their health and science programs.
Deadline for entries is December 1, 2009. Entry forms and more information can be found at www.promedica.org.