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Food Re-Education for Elementary School Health

The Community Relations Department at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is pleased to offer Food Re-Education for Elementary School Health (FRESH), an innovative nutrition education program available to elementary schools in Southeastern Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Specialized studies in the United States have identified several modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in children, which are smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise. FRESH is designed to lower future heart disease risk by teaching children good life-long nutrition and exercise habits.

Recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that:

  • Nearly 17% of children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are obese.
  • 70% of obese children had at least one Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk factor, and 39% had two or more.
  • Obese children are more likely to have an increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Children from families with premature heart disease are at a greater risk for developing heart disease in the future.
  • Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
  • If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.
  • More than 80% of adult smokers begin smoking before 18 years of age.
  • Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30%.

With these findings in mind, FRESH uses a variety of formats to teach elementary school students about healthy living. Lesson topics include the heart, diabetes, obesity, My Plate, food labels, physical fitness, healthy snacking and harmful effects of tobacco use.

The goal of FRESH is to educate children on the ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. We hope to steer children on a FRESH path to heart health!

For more information about FRESH, please call April Meise at 410-550-6958 or Kelli Barbato at 410-550-6960.

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