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Posted November 12, 2009
We Can! Healthy Berrien is not only promoting
movement in Berrien County, MI, they are creating
a movement. Lakeland Regional Health Center, a We Can!
County since January 2008, is using local media to spread the We
Can! word throughout the state.
According to site leader and dietician Pamela Kurtz, Michigan
is among the top ten most overweight states, and Berrien County
ranks second in this issue among Michigan counties.
"Only as a community can we begin to make a difference and
turn around the obesity epidemic," said Kurtz. "However,
we are not going to be able to change obesity in Michigan with
just one program; so we are getting our name out, putting it on
everything, and hoping that eventually it will catch on!"
And it has caught on. We Can! Healthy
Berrien has won media coverage from the Herald Palladium, the
South Bend Tribune, and other local newsletters and publications.
Additionally, Kurtz was recently invited to speak about the We
Can! program on "In the Spotlight," a
local radio show.
"We make our presence known by participating in different
events and programs, as well as partnering with various
organizations, so the We Can! name is
always out there," said Kurtz.
We Can! Healthy Berrien recently
participated in the Berrien County Youth Fair and YMCA's America
on the Move. Kurtz also mentioned that the program tried to think
"outside the box," doing things such as inviting a
well-known, local chef to teach kids about fun and healthy food
options which attracted local newspaper coverage.
In their efforts to raise awareness and credibility for the
program, the site recently launched its own Web site. "When
you are at events and talking to people about We Can!,
it is sometimes difficult to explain the whole program," said
Kurtz. "We thought a Web site would be a huge help in getting
people interested in the program."
The new Web site is a one-stop-shop for people who want to
learn about We Can! in Berrien, and
enroll in one of the three We Can!
Healthy Berrien parent/child programs. For more information on the
program and the classes, visit http://wecanhealthyberrien.net.
Can! or "Ways
to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition" is a national
program focused on three important
behaviors: improved food choices, increased physical activity and
reduced screen time. Read more about the program.
Walking Maps, Exercise Places,
Fruit Markets, Recipes,
Volunteer Centers, Activities,
New Buffalo Area
Schools: Linking Healthy Breakfast with Successful
itís tough to find the time to make sure your kids are eating
breakfast. Parents at
New Buffalo Area Schools can send their students to school knowing
they have the opportunity to eat breakfast Ė and itís FREE!
Each breakfast meets government nutritional guidelines for the
National School Breakfast Program.
Menu selection varies daily and may include: low-fat or fat
free milk, fruit or 100% fruit/vegetable juice, eggs, cheese or
other high protein foods, reduced sugar cereals and whole grain
The New Buffalo Food Service Department has been serving students
FREE breakfast for 3 years. It
started as a pilot program in the elementary school to see if
breakfast counts would increase.
The elementary program was successful, breakfast counts
went from 45 students a day to 120 daily.
With that success, K-12 students have been offered FREE
breakfast for the last two years.
Currently, over 35% of the students make the cafeteria
their first stop in the morning.
The funding for the Universal Breakfast Program is supported
through the National School Breakfast Program and
administrators at New Buffalo understand the positive affects of
eating breakfast. Whether
itís eaten at home or school, studies show that students have
better attendance, fewer visits to the school nurse, higher test
scores, and better concentration.
The Food Service Department enjoys greeting the students daily and
sending them to class ready to learn!
thanks to Patty Iazzetto,
School Food Service Director