There were dancing fruits and vegetables at the Fairmont Community Center on Thursday morning.
Spalding County Leisure Services is doing “veggie pops or fruit flash mobs” explained Kelly Carmichael, director of Leisure Services, to encourage children to eat healthy. Carmichael spoke about this effort — and the grants received to implement it — before the Educational Prosperity Initiative meeting.
She said the effort promotes healthy eating, physical activity and evidence-based nutrition information. They started over the summer, with children trying new things, including the vegetable soup made from vegetables at the Healthy Living Community Garden.
“We have a great staff to help implement things,” Carmichael said, using the new standards at the summer activities. Staff and children in fruit or vegetable costumes sang about the eating a peach, apple, carrot, pear and pine apple with meals each day, and handed out information about the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards.
Carmichael explained that all Leisure Services activities would be following these standards — including serving a fruit or vegetable at every snack and meal; serving only foods with no artificial trans fats; serving only whole-grain rich products; serving only non-fat or reduced-fat dairy products; serving only USDA smart snacks; providing water at all times at no cost to youth or staff; serving only 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners; serving no soda, sports drinks or juice drinks to elementary and middle school-age children; and no full-calorie sports drinks, only low calorie and diet drinks for high school-age children; and only non-caffeinated beverages.
Programs will have at least 20 percent of physical activity and at least 60 minutes for full-day programs, ensuring physical activity takes places outdoors whenever possible. At least 50 percent of physical activity must be moderate to vigorous, and screen time is limited to one hour per day and for homework or activities that engage youth in moderate to vigorous physical activity.