Children in nutritionist Cathy McCarthy's monthly class at St. Cecilia’s School are learning to eat healthy and exercise as part of the Nutri-Kid’s program in Stamford, instructing children to eat healthy and get proper exercise to counteract childhood obesity, a growing problem in the United States.
McCarthy makes learning fun by using interactive activities like arts and crafts, healthy food crossword puzzles and coloring sheets. Her Friday afternoon class is given to students in grades K through 4.
“It’s important to teach children the importance of healthy eating and nutrition at an early age,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy has been teaching the class for four months, usually with 11 to 15 children in attendance. After each discussion, she sends home an information packet telling parents what their children learned as well as the recipes of the goodies they ate. McCarthy also distributes an “I Tried” sheet as part of the Two Bites Club to encourage kids to try new healthy foods.
Parents have responded well to the sessions. McCarthy says she often receives emails from parents asking for more classes. Unfortunately, her course is limited to private schools. In the public schools, McCarthy can only visit as a non-profit organization and read to kids in grades K through 4.
McCarthy is a frequent contributor on News 12’s “12 on Health” segment. She uses word of mouth and her website, www.believeinyou2.net, to distribute her message on healthy habits and nutrition.
St. Cecilia’s principal, Joann Borchetta, endorses the program and sees a need for more classes like McCarthy’s.
“It goes from the bottom up,” she said. “It’s not the kid who goes to the grocery store and buys the unhealthy food. Kids influence what their parents buy.”
How do you get your children to eat healthful foods? Leave a comment below.