Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Summer Food Service Program June 4, 2014

Hello Body Walkers!

Last Thursday was a really great day for me. I got to go represent Body Walk at the Summer Food Service Program Kick-off! (Whew, that’s a mouthful.) I’m sure you are wondering what the Summer Food Service Program is, right?

I’m going to make it easy for all of us and quote directly from the program I received.

“The Summer Food Service Program is an initiative of USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to provide healthy meals to school-age children in districts where 50% or more of the child population qualifies for free or reduced meals. This program is managed by the MS Dept. of Education Office of Healthy Schools (MDE OHS) and allows sponsors to set up sites across Mississippi to provide meals and other activities at a maximum of twice daily. Whether it is in a school, mobile site, low-income housing unit, or religious organization, SFSP works to guarantee children living in poverty are able to access healthy food during the summer vacation months.”

This is HUGE Body Walkers! Body Walk teaches the importance of making healthy food choices to K-5th grade children. How can they do that if their food resources are limited, or worse, not even there? By providing healthy food to these children, they can exercise the lessons they learned in Body Walk. Of course, not all the children who will benefit from this program have gotten to see Body Walk, but some have. Of all the schools Body Walk sees during the course of the year, on average, 80% of them have a student population where 50% or more of the students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunches.

Now, let’s talk about the speakers and the messages they shared yesterday. This event was at the MS State Capital. It was supposed to be on the south lawn, but the rain forced us inside? Have you been to the capital? It is beautiful. You can take tours (link needed) and learn more about it. Ok, on to the speakers.

First up was Todd Ivey, Deputy State Superintendent for Operations; MS Dept. of Education. Mr. Ivey really set the tone by welcoming everyone and explaining some about what the SFSP is and who it is trying to help.

Next up was Aaron Sisk, Vice President of Operations; Magnolia Health Plan. I have included links here, please go read more about Magnolia Health. He talked some about his company and how invested they are in the health of our young people. I confess, at the beginning of the day, I knew nothing about Magnolia Health. I got to learn a lot later in the day, read on down to find out what I learned. (Or click the link, whatever makes you happy :).

Next up was Audry Rowe. Ms. Rowe is an Administrator for USDA Food and Nutrition Services. I really enjoyed hearing Ms. Rowe speak. She was passionate about her goals to increase the number of children, not just in MS, but all across the country, who receive this much needed summer meal assistance. She talked about where she had been so far and the people she is connecting with to help her achieve the goal. She really got the crowd fired up with her passion and vision.

After her was the reading of Governor Phil Bryant’s Summer Food Service Proclamation. This was nice as it shows the state’s commitment to this issue. Part of the proclamation, stated that the week of June 2-6 is going to be SFSP week. I expect there will be a push in the news and social media during this week to let people know what’s available and why it is needed.

The last main speaker was Lenora Phillips, Director of CACFP/SFSP, MS Dept. of Education, and Office of Child Nutrition. She told us about what specifically is happening in MS to bring this program to life and make it work. She showed us the posters that are being distributed across the state. She told us people will be able to access the resources at schools, at day care centers, at churches, at community centers, and more. MS is making a huge push during SFSP week and she wants us all to spread the word. She was vibrant in her enthusiasm.

Last to speak was Benjamin Russell, Communications Director, and Public Policy Center of MS, who offered the closing remarks.

I’m sure you are wondering, was that it? Was that the whole day? NO. There was more. After all the speakers, we when to the first floor where many people had tables set up with handouts, posters, and loads of information. I got to visit several of the tables.

I learned that Magnolia Health “is a long-term solution to help the state of Mississippi enhance care for Medicaid recipients while most effectively managing Medicaid funds. [Magnolia is] a physician-driven, Mississippi-based Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization (CCO)…” I had actually heard about similar services on National Public Radio, in relation to another company. I am so glad MS has something similar.

I also got to speak to Nancy Roman and Stephanie Yow. They both work for the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. They were there talking about their program fueluptoplay60. The fuel up to play program is a great compliment to the teachings of Body Walk. The BW lessons teach low-fat milk is a great beverage choice in the brain stations (part of a healthy breakfast), the stomach station (part of a healthy meal), and the bone station(a great way to get calcium.) I enjoyed talking to them and sharing how Body Walk teaches a fueled up body is better able to learn and play.

After touring the tables, it was time to leave. I hope you are excited about SFSP in MS and if you know of children who would really benefit from access to healthy meals, please share this information with their caretaker.

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Body Walk in Amite County March 3, 2014

Hello Body Walkers!

Last week, the exhibit traveled to Amite County, Liberty MS. (Age test: Aaamite County, LiberTY MISSissIPPi is the home of what famous comedian? Leave your answer in the comments.) This was an excellent trip. Before I tell you about the trip though, I wanted to show you a fun new item, buttons!

Body Walk and the OrganWiseGuys go together like walking and improved health. So, it only makes sense that the station presenters should have some OrganWiseGuys buttons to wear while they are teaching.

Adorable

Vegetables and Fruit

Protein

Protein

Gotta wear them ALL

Gotta wear them ALL

In Liberty, I worked with Amy Walsh. She is an Extension Agent in Amite County. She worked with the school to set the best schedule for the kids to come tour. She also worked with the Southwest MS Community College Nursing Instructors to arrange for their students to teach inside the Body Walk. I LOVE working with nursing students. They are always excited, full of energy, and they make the information fun for the kids. This group was a no different. Every time I listened to them teaching, the elementary kids were laughing, calling out answers, and just having a ball. We saw K-4th grade at Amite County Elementary School aka Liberty Elem.

Awesome presenters

Nursing students from Southwest MS Community College

Sometimes the station presenters or volunteers are nervous before the first group of kids comes in. Every now and then though, you get some people who are completely relaxed, who have no worries.

No worries.

No worries.

Before beginning the tour, sometimes it’s good to stretch, to get all your muscles loose and limber. A relaxed body and mind is one that is ready for learning. Some of the volunteers took turns leading the kids in some simple stretches so they would be ready to learn when they started the tour.

Loose and limber, limber and loose.

Loose and limber, limber and loose.

Once they kids finished their five minutes of stretching, it was time to start the tour. First stop was the brain. Here, the kids learned knowledge begins with a healthy mind.

Feed your brain good food AND good information.

Feed your brain good food AND good information.

The best place to learn about what is good food is in the Stomach Station. These ladies were showing plenty of examples of good food. They have plush models of fruits and veggies and they have life-like models of meats, grains, and juice.

Healthy food is ALWAYS a good decision.

Healthy food is ALWAYS a good decision.

When we have a healthy body, all the parts are working like they should. Some of those parts are the muscles. Muscle groups work together to breath, to digest our food, to let us throw a ball, or blink, or climb a tree. This last picture shows two volunteers working together in perfect harmony. She is reading the script, and he is prepared with all the props. He is holding one pound of fat, one pound of muscle, plush Madame Muscle, and he has the sack with the stress balls on his back. When she flips the page, he is ready to engage the group with the correct prop. Teamwork!

TEAMWORK

TEAMWORK

As you may have noticed, several of the volunteers are wearing the buttons. They were excited to get to wear them, and I was excited to have one more way to engage the volunteers in the experience that is Body Walk. It was a great trip.

Body Walk will be traveling to three counties in March and a specific day in March is when the Extension Agents will be able to book Body Walk for next Fall. I am looking forward to that, Body Walkers!

Hearty Heart loves the new banner.

Hearty Heart loves the new banner.

 

Body Walk in Stone County June 11, 2013

In late February, Body Walk traveled to Stone County. Here, Brad Jones booked the exhibit for his county. We saw kids at two locations,  Stone Elementary School and Perkinson Elementary. We saw K-5th at both locations. This was a long trip, taking most of the week to see over 1100 kids. We had great help at both locations. Brad had plenty of volunteers lined up at both locations so the set-ups and take downs went very smoothly.

Some of our volunteers were nursing students. The elementary kids loved learning about their body and how to keep it healthy. They enjoyed the lively and high energy delivery from the station presenters.  The volunteers told them a great breakfast makes for a great day. To much sugar can lead to tooth decay. Stomachs are happiest when fed nutritious food in the proper portions. Intestines and kidneys love water. Hearts work hard so should you. Lungs want CLEAN air, no smoking! Bones and muscles work well together. Lastly, skin works best when clean, so wash your hands!

There was more to each message of course. The presenters had five minutes with each group to teach the lessons of the Body Walk.

Great volunteers make for a great experience.

Great volunteers

Great volunteers

IMG_0261

Enthusiastic volunteers

 

MOCHA Meeting June 7, 2013

Hello Health Enthusiasts!

Brush Twice a Day

Brush Twice a Day

The second stop in the Body Walk exhibit is the Mouth Station. This room teaches students how and why to brush their teeth. Oral health is critical to overall health. The Body Walk teaches children to ‘be smart from the inside out,” and the teeth are certainly part of the ‘insides’ they need to be smart about!

Today I attended my local MOHCA meeting. The Mississippi Oral Health Community Alliance works to improve oral health for all Mississippians. This was the second meeting I have been to and I always learn something. This month, the focus was on recruiting a facilitator and two of the attendees agreed to share the role.  I learned about services available for MS children that are freely available, specifically sealants and fluoride varnishing the teeth. These treatments help children keep healthy teeth longer.

Happy Clean Tooth

Happy Clean Tooth

The main focus of the meeting was to come up with ideas to get the messages of oral care out to the public. We discussed how to get the information to parents, to children, and to young adults. We talked about how important proper dental care is, at home and through regular dentist visits. Oral hygiene helps to not just keep healthy teeth, but is important for overall health.  Some ideas were. give out flyers at food banks, talk to parents at schools open house night, ask schools to include links to MOHCA on their websites, encourage dentists to set up a booth at local summer festivals, attend health fairs, and even host an oral health fair where the entire focus would be how to take care of your teeth. I would love to see that last one in action. 🙂

This tooth loves to be brushed.

This tooth loves to be brushed.

It was an interesting and informative meeting and I really enjoyed getting to see some familiar faces and meet new people. It is wonderful to learn more about how one of the lessons of Body Walk plays out in the greater community. One goal of Body Walk is to lay the foundation of healthy habits that will follow children into adulthood. It is great to meet with so many other like-minded professionals.

Here are a few resources for you.

One of many apps to help you take care of teeth.

One of many apps* to help you take care of teeth.

*This app is not free, and is just one example of many options. This is not an endorsement or recommendation of this specific application.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find a Dentist in your community.

Information about Fluoride.

Happy Brushing!

 

Body Walk in Scott County, Forest Elementary March 8, 2013

Next up in February for Body Walk was Forest Elementary. This was my second time to set up all the new stuff (and I won’t count every time), and it went well. It is such a joy to see all the new items assembled. The exhibit as a whole just looks very nice in the different gyms. For this school, Carol Ballard booked the school. Cindy Adkins, school nurse, was Carol’s contact at this school. Cindy did a great job securing volunteers and planning the schedule.

Bearcats

Bearcats

Our volunteers were Allied Health students. They did a great job presenting the material to the Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students who toured the exhibit. The kids had a great time learning how to keep their brain, mouth, stomach, small intestine, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin healthy. They liked having the high school students teach them and show them all the cool and interesting props that are unique to each room.

As always, the plasma light in the brain was an immediate attention grabber. The light simulates the speed of neurons firing in our brain. Without proper nutrition, those neurons don’t work like they are supposed to. A good breakfast with foods from all sections of MyPlate is a great way to start the day.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

After we eat, it is important to brush our teeth. Healthy teeth let us eat all those healthy crunch foods.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

Everyone should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables.

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

 

Smoking is always a bad idea.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don't smoke.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don’t smoke.

Once the kids finished their tour, their teacher was given a stack of activity books, one for each student. These reinforce everything the students learned in their trip through the body.

An activity book and sticker.

An activity book and sticker.

Next up, Stone county.

 

 

 

 

MOHCA–February is Oral Health Month February 8, 2013

This past Wednesday, I was invited by Gennette Robinson, MSDH/Oral Health Division,  to a learning lunch hosted by the Tombigbee Regional Chapter of MOHCA, the Mississippi Oral Health Community Alliance. Their mission is:

  • offer a comprehensive approach to improve the oral health status for Mississippians by serving as an advocate for optimal oral health
  • mobilize community partnerships between and among policy makers, state agencies, professionals, organizations, the public and other groups that are interested in improving oral health
  • develop plans and policies that improve oral health through a collaborative process; and
  • establish an oral health services infrastructure that assures the protection, promotion and provision of oral health care for all Mississippians.

The guest speaker at the lunch was Dr. Mary Huxford, a Pediatric Dentist. I really enjoyed hearing her speak and I learned a lot about children’s oral hygiene.

Dr. Huxford (in pink) explaining when children should see a dentist.

Dr. Huxford (in pink) explaining when children should see a dentist.

For example, in Body Walk, we teach children they should brush twice a day and floss. Our age group is K-5th grade. I learned that if our younger visitors, Kindergarten for example, are not able to tie their shoes yet, then their parents should still be helping them brush their teeth. This reason for this is shoe-tying is a fine motor skill. If a child has not mastered this skill, than he or she does not have the fine motor control to properly brush their teeth.

I also learned many reasons why young children might develop cavities. They are drinking to many sugar sweetened drinks, or too much juice. Even 100% fruit juice has fruit sugars in it. The recommenced daily amount for children who are still taking a bottle or sippy cup is 4 oz. Young children don’t brush and floss enough or properly. Parents should start wiping children’s teeth as soon as they have teeth.  A finger wrapped in a washcloth can be used to wipe out a child’s mouth. Another reason very young children might have cavities that become big problems is children don’t see the dentist early enough. Children as young as one should see a dentist.

MOCHA is promoting a Healthy Smile Campaign.  2×2=A Healthy Smile.  They want everyone to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. This is a great message and one that fits in well with the lessons in the mouth station of the Body Walk.  The script for Body Walk has children practice tooth brushing by using giant toothbrushes to brush teeth stools. They practice flossing by flossing between the teeth stools. The volunteer reading the script guides them in those activities and tells the children how often to brush and how to brush. The mouth station also has a prop called Mr. Gross Mouth so the children can see what happens when they never brush their teeth. Our goal is to get children to start (or continue) the healthy habit of brushing and flossing.

A presenter holding Mr. Gross Mouth while Cali M. Bone shows off her clean teeth.

A presenter holding Mr. Gross Mouth while Calci M. Bone shows off her clean teeth.

Proper brushing is essential to keeping a bright smile for life.

Proper brushing is essential to keeping a bright smile for life.

Going to the meeting was very educational. I am happy to work with others to expand our message and create healthier lives for Mississippi’s children.

Next up, A BIGGER SURPRISE.

 

Body Walk in Fulton Mississippi

The last trip of January was to Itawamba county. Marie Rogers booked this trip for her county. I have been here several times before. It is always a good experience. Usually, the football team from Itawamba Community College helps with the set up. They were on hand and they did a great job. When there is A LOT of help with the set up, sometimes it is hard to organize, or have everyone listening when they need to. Not a problem this trip. The men had excellent listening and teamwork skills. We had the truck unloaded, and the whole thing set up in under an hour.

The next day, 300 third graders came to see the exhibit. We saw kids from five schools, Itawamba Attendance Center, Dorsey, Mantachie, Tremont, and Fairview. Our volunteers were allied health students and nursing students. They all did a great job making the material come to life for the students. The Allied health students gave out bookmarks, helped administer the quiz, and served at chaperones to the groups.  The nursing students were station presenters, led the kids in 10 minutes of dance while they waited their turn to tour, and were in charge of shoe wrangling.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

IMG_0154

In the mouth they learn to brush twice a day and floss! How can you eat healthy food without teeth to chew it?

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

With intestines 22 ft long, it's a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

With intestines 22 ft long, it’s a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don't smoke!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don’t smoke!

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Allied Health

The Allied Health class.

Nursing students from ICC.

Nursing students from ICC.

The kids loved learning how to ‘be smart from the inside out’.  Everyone did a great job.

Next up, something different.