Students at Alma J. Brown elementary school were cheerful to get a break from the classroom to receive some hands-on experience with developing healthier lifestyles.
The Body Walk program engaged the students with the benefits of eating healthy, exercising and protecting their body from harm.
“Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables,” said Cathy Judd, area nutrition agent. “Everything connects, and what you put in your body matters.”
The students, from grades kindergarten to fifth grade, went through a 3D obstacle course of the human body focusing on 11 parts of the body: brain, My Plate, stomach, small intestines, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, skin and pathway to life.
Students started in the Body Walk Cafeteria where they discussed what makes a healthy lunch.
First grader, Sanaii Ramsey, said she “ate” chicken, strawberries, and broccoli and drank milk. Throughout the course Ramsey and the other students learned how what they eat would affect their bodies.
“Drinking milk will make me strong,” said the Ruston native.
The students not only learned about eating right, but how to protect their skin. They were urged to wear sun screen and proper safety equipment for sports.
The Body Walk is a part of a bigger campaign called Smart Bodies. Smart Bodies is a curriculum-based series designed to use hands-on classroom activities and lectures to motivate students to maintain healthier lifestyles. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and The Louisiana State University AgCENTER sponsors the Body Walk.
Alma J. Brown has participated in Smart Bodies for over three years, and the students believe the program works.
“I am very excited,” said Haley Albritton, a fifth grader from Grambling. “Last year, I had to write about the ear and I remembers what I had learned at the Body Walk.”
The Body Walk is usually an incentive for completely the Smart Bodies program, but this year Brown elementary didn’t participate.
“For the last three years, Alma J. Brown has participated in the full program, but due to time constraints they were only able to participate in Body Walk,” said Judd.
Nevertheless, Wanda Wilson, the physical education teacher at the school, and Judd agree that they plan to conduct the full program next year.
Smart Bodies, which was started in 2005, travels throughout Louisiana spreading the importance of healthy lifestyles. John Albarado, the Body Walk manager, said he approximately attends 35,000 students at 55 schools a year.
Wilson also noted that the students enjoyed the Body Walk.
“I received positive reactions from all of the students,” said the 8-year teacher and Southern University 1984 alumni. “They are looking at it from a different perspective, so when we go back to the classroom, they can implement some of the activities and discuss what we learn.”
Tristan Deloney, a kindergarten at Brown, came out of the body smiling ear to ear.
“It was fun,” said as he practiced the proper way to brush your teeth, moving his imagination toothbrush in a circular motion around his mouth. “They showed me how to brush my teeth.”
Students from Grambling State University Kinesiology department volunteered to work inside of the body-teaching students in the different stages. They played a vital role in the production of the event.
“We hope when the students leave they will realize that in charge of their bodies, and how important eating healthy and exercise is,” said Judd. She joked that she hopes one student went home and asked their parents for broccoli for dinner.