Gerber students take steps to healthy lifestyles

Apr 1, 2015 12:46 PM by Alex Backus

Gerber, Calif - Hundreds of students in the Gerber Union Elementary School District recognized National Nutrition Month by choosing healthy foods and completing one mile per day.

Throughout March, nearly 400 students, pre-K through eighth grade, started their school day on the track.

"We believe that students perform better academically and behaviorally when they are active and moving," Gerber Union Elementary School District Superintendent Jenny Marr said.

Some students ran, others opted to walk, but strived for 31 miles over 31 days.

To complement the physical activity, the district has partnered with CalFresh to incorporate nutrition into daily lessons.

"[We] show teachers how to use nutrition in math, science, English," UC CalFresh Nutrition Educator Roxanne James said.

Once a month, the school has a Fresh Friday, where students are introduced to new fruits and vegetables. March's choice was a kale veggie smoothie.

"We have a classroom rule, where we bring something new for them to try, there's no ‘ew', no ‘gross'," James explained.
James says the kids can be skeptical at first, "but they try it and they love it! "It's all about introducing vegetables in ways they might not thought they would like it."

The school has also expanded their lunch menu, providing a salad and fruit bar.

"Some kids never got salad bar or they didn't eat," seventh grader Audrey tells Action News. "And now, they get salad bar, because they acknowledge that they need to eat more healthy."

When heading to lunch, James suggests students select a whole grain, fruit and vegetable. She also encourages parents to motivate kids to exercise every day.

The district is also making a game plan for long-term fitness goals.

"Hire a PE teacher, and build a gym, recreation center for the community and students," Marr said.


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