"Championing" Nutrition at Champion School - Action for Healthy Kids
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“Championing” Nutrition at Champion School

Champion School
Phoenix, Arizona

When Andrea Urquidez, Nutrition Site Supervisor, began working at Champion School last year, she noticed that students at the K-8 sports-focused charter school lacked basic nutrition knowledge. They did not know the difference between a fruit or vegetable or what a calorie is, and older students did not know how to read nutrition labels or how nutrition supports their athletic endeavors. So she began using curriculum from the USDA and other evidence-based sources to teach nutrition education to students through classroom lessons and gardening.

This year, thanks to Game On grant funding from Action for Healthy Kids, Andrea has expanded the school’s nutrition lessons to three lessons per month. Her immediate focus has been on the 8th grade students, making sure they’re equipped with the nutrition information they need as they transition into high school. She has also recruited a teaching student to teach nutrition to the younger students. Since athletics is a strong focus of the school, older students are learning about how nutrition supports their physical activity with lessons such as how to find and consume healthier beverages. The nutrition lessons are also paired with hands-on snack prep, teaching students how to create healthy snack options they can make at home.

Once students have received their foundational nutrition education, they will transition from growing seeds in milk cartons in the classroom to planting food in the school garden. This effort will culminate in students making a recipe that is culturally relevant to their primarily Latino and Hispanic community using the ingredients they grow in the garden.

As a result of their nutrition education work, Urquidez now hears students in the lunch line telling each other they need to take healthier options like vegetables. Also, on a recent field trip to a heart museum, students were easily able to answer basic nutrition questions. Said first grade teacher Carla Kyle of the new programs, “I like the variety of food that the kids are exposed to. It is fun to watch them try new things and learn about the food they are eating. They like the nutrition program, as well.”

This grant was made possible by funding from Kellogg Company Fund.