Healthy Habits, DifferenceMakers
After researching and realizing the increasing demographic of overweight and obese children in public school systems, Healthy Habits was formed. The team consisted of nursing majors Michelle Racioppi, Haley Mayne, Katerina Kafkas, Nicole Leblanc, Meghan Hathaway and Jacqueline Bradley. The team developed a method for children to learn about the various “healthy habits” they can engage in. The goal of this project was to teach fitness and well-being to young children so they do not grow up to be unhealthy, overweight or obese.
Healthy Habits has a structured curriculum that educates and engages children in healthy eating and exercise habits. The curriculum includes:
• Examining the students nutritional knowledge
• Introducing healthy foods and exercise to the students
• Having the students perform the exercises
• Asking the students to evaluate the program after they participated
In the first series of curriculum, over 40 children joined. This outlines the importance of Healthy Habits within the community.
The team entered the 2013 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge where they pitched their project to a panel of judges. The team won first place in the category called “Significant Social Impact,” and was awarded $3,500 to further implement their idea. This team is proof that business expertise is not necessary to implement and pursue a project or idea.
The Healthy Habits team members graduated in May 2013 and continue their education to become certified nurses. The Community Health Club (CHEC) at UMass Lowell has become the new leader of Healthy Habits and will continue to implement the project within the community and region.