HSC School Nurse Training Graduate Helps Kids Make Healthy Choices

June 09, 2009

By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director

All of us at HSC were excited to see our name mentioned recently in “Slowing Down a Fast Food Nation,” an article in The New Lenox Patriot (New Lenox, Ill.).
Not only is this a great story about a school nurse taking leadership
in promoting healthy behaviors, but it's also about a graduate of our
School Nurse Leadership Program! And it's an interesting spin on a
problem we are all faced with — making healthy choices amid a sea of
fast food options. The article explains:

As a school nurse in New Lenox School District 122
since 1992, [Marsha] Ridings has seen an increase recently in the number of
overweight students, something that became especially apparent when the
calculation of children's body mass index became part of their school
physicals. She decided to take action, and last week Ridings' “Healthy
Choices” program concluded at Spencer Crossing School with a lunch delivery from McDonald's. But there wasn't a Big Mac in sight.

“We
made up a menu with all healthy food from McDonald's and had the kids
pick items with nutrition in mind,” Ridings said. “Fast food
restaurants aren't going anywhere and so the goal is for the kids to
try something different.
..

Ridings,
who has been the nurse at Spencer Crossing for three years, first came
up with the Healthy Choices program after participating in a Healthy
Schools Campaign workshop
.

And in Marsha's own words…

I was
trying to do something that was very inclusive, that did not single out any
one group, but rather taught all kids how to eat healthier!  We
all need that, right?! . . .  Just
because you are thin or normal weight does not mean that you eat a healthy diet
or exercise for that matter.  So we need to keep pushing the message –
healthy food choices and get moving! We plan to expand this project to our whole district
next year!

Great work, Marsha!