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Caloosa students make pledge for healthier summer

By Staff | May 31, 2016

Without the structure that school provides, kids oftentimes find themselves sitting around the house, watching TV or playing video games and eating potato chips and drinking soda.

Welcome to summer!

On Friday, at the Cape Coral Wellness Center, a dozen Caloosa Elementary School students made a pledge to have a healthy summer.

They took what is known as a Healthy Lee 5210 Pledge, which is a promise they will perform certain healthier tasks throughout the summer.

A wellness initiative of HealthyLee, 5210 calls for kids to eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in May, limit screen time on TV and the computer to two hours per day in June, spend an hour a day in physical activity in July, and drink no sugary beverages in August.

The 5210 campaign started five years ago as something especially for kids and it went to schools and pediatricians. Today, it has become a program for everyone.

“We’re encouraging families and individuals to take the pledge to adopt these habits,” said Sally Jackson of the Cape Coral Wellness Center. “The habits are good for everybody, so we are encouraging everyone to take the pledge.”

The students from Kim Jordan’s fifth-grade STEM class were given a pledge sheet for them and their parents to sign.

Jordan, a parent herself of one of the children in her class, Jacob, said she would definitely sign the pledge.

“We have a goal to make sure our students live a healthy lifestyle and make good choices,” Jordan said. “We want them to know everything they do to their body is going to affect their health now and in the future.”

Students visited the community Teaching Garden, which Jordan’s students helped to create last year, to learn the importance of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their diets, and how cultivating your own garden can help to reduce screen time and keep you active.

Rod Barkley, who cares for the garden, showed them all that can be grown and consumed and hoped they got something out of it.

“Hopefully, with Mrs. Jordan’s backing, they’ll delve into it more deeply. I focused on the unusual plants so it would spur an interest in them,” Barkley said.

The students also got to taste some of the fresh fruits and vegetables they would eat, as well as a chocolate tasting smoothie with strawberry, banana, plant-based protein and almond milk that everyone seemed to enjoy.

“It was very good. I got to taste the smoothie, and it was the best I’ve ever tasted. I learned a lot about new plants and the food is amazing,” Jacob said, whose mom makes sure he stays as active as possible. “My friends come over to play and we play football and soccer.”

Jackson said it was nice to get these kids to learn the importance of good choices early, as it will carry over into adulthood.

“It’s important for these kids to adopt these habits and families to understand that this is about a healthy lifestyle for life. If we learn as children, it’s easier to maintain those habits as adults,” Jackson said.

For additional information, please visit www.healthylee.com/5210-pledge/