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Physicians’ grant brings Childhood Obesity Awareness Day to Heritage

During Childhood Obesity Awareness Day, Heritage students took squash and tomato plants, supplied by Deep Roots, for home planting. (CONTRIBUTED)
During Childhood Obesity Awareness Day, Heritage students took squash and tomato plants, supplied by Deep Roots, for home planting. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – To recognize and face a national trend, Heritage Elementary School observed Childhood Obesity Awareness Day on April 17 with a grant from a local physician’s group.

Dr. Jitendra Jain and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin awarded the grant. “Heritage is the first elementary school to host this event,” principal Dr. Georgina Nelson said. “We are very appreciative that Dr. Jain and his team chose our school to pilot this program.”

Prevention is a vital part of overall wellness. “Part of our job as doctors is not just treating people when they get sick but teach them how to live healthier to prevent it,” Jain said. Jain practices at BrightStarts Pediatrics at 102 Essex Court, Suite A in Madison.

“As we all know, juvenile obesity is a huge issue in our nation and state,” Nelson said. “This event brought in experts — pediatricians, nutritionists, experts in diet and exercise. Teaching children early about living a healthy lifestyle is a key to helping us get there.”

All students in grades 3-6 attended an opening assembly program. Guest speakers introduced topics and described events of the day, assistant principal Sharon Phillips said. Heritage’s physical education department chaired the event.

Guest speakers included Mayor Troy and Dana Trulock; Sarah Switzer, Liberty Middle School; Carl Prather, WHNT sports; and doctors in the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

Students learned about exercise options and healthy snack choices, along with learning how to calculate their BMI (body mass index), to use a pedometer and to grow vegetables, Phillips said. All students received a souvenir T-shirt.

Students then rotated among six learning stations. Sponsors were Deep Roots, Publix, Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center, Kids Yoga, Alabama A&M University Student Health and Wellness Center.

Deep Roots gave tomato and squash plants to students and demonstrated planting techniques. To conclude the event, Heritage students used their new pedometers and walked the field track with Chaos, Huntsville Havoc’s mascot.

For more information, visit aapiusa.org.

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