The Improvement Association Addresses Childhood Obesity

Lydia Kearney, LPN, Health and Disability Specialist for The Improvement Association, teaches the children enrolled in the agency’s Head Start initiative various stretching techniques.

The Improvement Association has partnered with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office to implement the Literacy, Eating, and Activity for Preschoolers (LEAP) health curriculum for the 2016-2017 school year. The LEAP curriculum is being offered to 262 children throughout Sussex, Surry, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Greensville and Emporia. LEAP includes reading books focused on preparing and eating healthy foods and being physically active. Students have learned about planting and growing healthy fruits and vegetables, they’ve tasted various types of apples and carrots dipped in yogurt, and participated in physical activities such, as stretching, to keep their bones limber.

The LEAP curriculum was implemented in an effort to help curb the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. The Improvement Association’s Health Advisory Committee noticed that 16% of Head Start students were obese during program year 2015-2016. The implementation of the LEAP health curriculum encourages children to make healthy food choices and to include physical activity in their daily life.

Head Start is now recruiting for the 2017-2018 program year. For more information contact Shikee Franklin, Head Start Director, or Logan Tatum, Family Service Specialist, at 434-634-2490.

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