PALM COAST, Fla. March 10, 2017 Florida Hospital Flagler cardiac rehabilitation manager Lisa Wilkinson visited Bunnell, Rymfire and Wadsworth elementary schools to teach students involved in the 21st Century Community Learning Center about the importance of nutrition, health and fitness.
The 21st Century Community Learning Center is a free academic enrichment program for qualifying students at Flagler County's three elementary schools.
During this event, Wilkinson emphasized the significant role nutrition plays in health.
Healthy eating is important for kids to grow and develop properly and it can even help prevent a variety of conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cavities, and even cancer, she said.
Most children in America don't eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, Wilkinson added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, empty calories from added sugars and solid fats make up about 40 percent of children's and adolescents daily calories, which severely impacts the overall quality of their diets.
Approximately half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts like ice cream, grain desserts like cookies, pizza, and whole milk, she said.
To actively engage the students, Wilkinson gave each child five bracelets to wear and challenged the students to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
When you eat a fruit or vegetable, just move one bracelet from one wrist to the other, and at the end of the day, hopefully, you've moved all five bracelets to your other wrist, she said. You get homework in school, now this is a chance for you to give your parents some homework too as you do this with your families every day.
In 2016, Florida Hospital Flagler was named a premier health sponsor for Flagler County Schools 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The 21st Century Community Learning Center is part of a five year, $2.5 million grant which provides Flagler County students enhanced academic and social education experiences, while supporting the language art, math, science, and health benchmarks under the Florida State Standards.
About Florida Hospital Flagler
Florida Hospital Flagler is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses and nearly 8,200 licensed beds in 10 states. With 99-beds, Florida Hospital Flagler is one of the six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties that composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region has 907 beds and nearly 6,000 employees. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region collectively contributed nearly $120 million in benefits in 2015 to the underprivileged, the community's overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.