Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque, along with Convivium Urban Farmstead, hosted an interactive day of nutrition education in October for over 40 second-grade students from Marshall Elementary in Dubuque. During the “Growing a Healthy Community” event, students rotated through stations where they participated in hands-on activities such as preparing a nutritious take-home meal and planting green beans for growing at home. The students also toured the community gardens and learned about proper nutrition and hydration, serving sizes, food safety, and a lot more – in ways that were fun and easy for them to understand.
Obesity is a major concern in Dubuque County, and according to the county’s community health needs assessment and health improvement plan, 42 percent of adults in Dubuque County are overweight.
“Our primary goal was to impact future obesity rates in the Dubuque community by improving the kids’ daily food choices through education on healthy eating habits and safe kitchen practices,” explains Dori Sevde, a clinical nurse specialist at Mercy. “The students and teachers had a great time. They actively participated, tried some new foods, and asked great questions.”
The comments from students express the fun they had and how much they learned:
“I always eat fast food, and this was the first real home cooking I tried, and I loved it!”
“I want to grow my own garden!”
“That was the funnest field trip I ever had!”
“I didn’t know nurses weren’t just at the doctor’s office.”
“The nurses persuaded me to eat healthy.”
“I know how to buy healthy food from the gas station now, because I stop there after school everyday.”
The event was funded through Mercy’s Community Benefit Ministry Grant, and Sevde hopes to continue this programing and education with other schools in the area.Share this story.