MyPlate reminds and empowers Americans to make healthy choices that work for them. One California elementary school got creative with MyPlate, hosting a fun and educational event that emphasized the importance of healthy eating and being active. Learn more about how this highly successful activity impacted its community in the guest post below, written by organizers of the event:
Guest Post by: Robert Gonzales, Principal, Castle Rock Elementary and Laura Bullene Jacobo, Director of Nutrition Services, Woodlake Unified School District
Who likes to eat?
More than 500 students were asked that question during a morning greeting at Castle Rock Elementary, in the heart of the Central Valley of California. The students enthusiastically raised their hands. The next question was “how many of you like to run and exercise?” Again, over 500 students emphatically raised their hands. This particular exercise inspired our MyPlate Color Run.
What exactly is a MyPlate Color Run? This run is different from your typical “color run”. There is no first or second place finisher – everyone in this fun run / walk is a winner.
The course is an exciting workout for all levels of fitness. Participants ranged from grandparents to parents with infants in strollers. The course was designed to incorporate five educational stations, each representing one of the MyPlate food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy. A healthy taste test was offered at each station, and was accompanied by nutrition education and a physical activity. Activities included yoga, Zumba®, strength and conditioning exercises, and an obstacle course. The entire course covered a distance of about 3 kilometers [1.86 miles] on the expansive Castle Rock campus.
The event, held at Castle Rock Elementary in Woodlake, CA, is a collaborative effort to educate students and parents on the importance of nutrition and exercise. Woodlake is a small, rural town in the foothills of the majestic Sierras with a population of about 7,600 residents. The inaugural event had over 500 eager participants, and more than 700 participated this school year, including enthusiastic students from F.J. White Learning Center and Castle Rock Elementary, along with their parents, family and friends.
The collaboration of several local agencies contributed to the MyPlate Color Run’s overwhelming success. Supporters included Woodlake Unified School District, Tulare County Office of Education, Kaweah Delta Hospital, Horizon Marketing, Family Health Care Network, University of California Cooperative Extension and Food Link. These sponsors generously contributed not only their time, but also healthy food samples for taste testing, t-shirts, and sunglasses for all participants.
The event was a huge success, and didn’t end there. Students have starred in a televised commercial for Tulare County Office of Education discussing healthy eating and the importance of a healthy diet, and continue to receive monthly healthy taste tests provided by the Tulare County Office of Education’s Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention (NEOP) Program. Their parents are continuing to use the MyPlate lessons, too – many are participating in bailoterapia dance, an upbeat aerobic fitness class that incorporates Latin dance moves, provided by Family Health Care Network.
The MyPlate Color Run at Castle Rock Elementary was an overwhelming success that helped change the way students and parents embrace proper nutrition and exercise in the community of Woodlake, CA – the fruit basket of the world.