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Thursday, June 20, 2013

North Reading Wellness Committee

We are all aware of the growing concerns around our children’s health and wellness.
This year a dedicated team of educators and community members came together as a part of the Wellness committee.  Included in the group were Lois Bisson, Anna McGovern, Claudia Brown, Lorraine McGee, Laurie Witts, Lynne Clemens, Amy Luckiewicz,  Patricia Bullard, and Patrick Daly.

For 2012-13 this group had many goals including re-writing the goals from the committee’s 2006 document and aligning with the 2010 Health and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.  The committee worked to organize the goals into four categories: Nutrition Promotion, Nutrition Education, Health Education, and Physical Education.  The recommendations of this group will be passed along to the Superintendent for consideration.

Nutrition promotion goals are about positioning healthy choices for students to consider.  This is about more than choosing fruits and vegetables over sugary snacks.  It’s about understanding how many different types of fruits exist and the many ways to prepare them.  For example, our cafeteria may provide several varieties of apples so that students can develop a taste for which apple they prefer.  

Nutrition Education goals concern students learning the knowledge and skills related to nutritional wellness.  This would include learning about healthy choices, the dangers of obesity, and the benefits of proper nutrition.  Goals focused on both the curriculum that the students would experience in school as well as the extra-curricular education that they would receive through local community partnerships.  
Expanding and improving health education, offering healthier food choice options at local events, and creating guidelines for fundraisers are among the goals for this topic.

The final two topics focus on Health and Physical education goals and are connected to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks as well as national standards.  The goals in these areas relate to the curriculum students will be taught as well as the continued vision for the importance of health and physical education for all students in North Reading.

As we look to 2013-14 the Wellness committee hopes to have many new initiatives that will involve the entire community.  Our goal is to create a community-wide effort to promote healthy choices, physical activity, and nutrition promotion.  The committee already involves members of the North Reading Public Schools, Parks and Recreation, Youth Services, parents, local health care providers, and more.  We hope to include other partners in the future.  If you’d like to be involved in the Wellness committee next year please contact Patrick Daly at pdaly@north-reading.k12.ma.us.

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