Faculty and students to focus on nutrition at Proviso East health fair
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Sugary snacks and fatty foods will soon be shown the door at public schools across the city. This nutritional overhaul is part of an effort to implement new dietary standards and create a healthier environment in schools. However, city schools are not the only ones teaching students about healthy eating.
Faculty and students at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) were ahead of this curve when they began educating Proviso East High School students about nutrition six years ago in Proviso Eastâs school-based health center.
âStudents who fuel their bodies with healthy food are more likely to thrive in and outside the classroom,â said Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, LDN, assistant professor and director of the dietetic intern program, MNSON. âOur programs help to encourage this behavior by teaching students to make more informed choices when it comes to nutrition.â
The school-based health center, which is supported by federal, state and private foundation funding, provides easy access to health-care services for students. The centerâs nutrition programs include education, counseling, weight-loss guidance, healthy lunch groups and junk-free zones where students can eat nutritional snacks. These efforts are intended to enhance school performance, fight obesity and improve the health of students. The programs also have increased dietary variety for students and offered tips for healthy meals that they can share with their families. Loyola plans to expand its nutrition program next year with peer-support groups, cognitive behavior therapy and coping skills.
Healthy eating, diabetes prevention and obesity will be among the topics Loyola faculty and students address at Proviso Eastâs health fair. This event will take place from 8 a.m. â 3 p.m. on April 13 and 14 in Memorial Hall at 807 S. First Ave., Maywood, Ill. High school students will have an opportunity to try healthy recipes and learn about positive lifestyle choices.
âChildhood obesity in underserved areas results from the perfect storm of inadequate education, poor access to healthy foods and other distractions such as violence, drug abuse and teen pregnancy,â Dr. Kouba said. âOur program attempts to curb these issues while giving students an outlet to eat healthier, lose weight and build self confidence.â