Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Community Health Services (CHS) department was awarded the title of Fruits & Veggies-More Matters Role Model for the year 2011 by the Produce for Better Health (PBH) organization. This is the second time in two years that CHS has received the award.
Community Health Services was recognized because of their outstanding service to the community, particularly in schools through an education program known as Project H.E.A.L.T.H.—Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles for Tomorrow’s Health.
Project H.E.A.L.T.H.’s mission is to promote healthy eating and physical activity among students by engaging them in fun and educational programs.
“Our focus is educating children which can then expand into the families,” said Diane Zepaltas, CHS community dietitian. “The basics of health really are simple–eat healthy and be active every day.”
Programs include weekly interactive nutrition education for students in grades K-2, where students are provided an opportunity to learn more about food choices and taste healthy snacks to encourage them to eat healthier. In addition to nutrition, students utilize a quarter-mile walking trail which features instructions on simple exercises for kids and teachers as a way to engage them in fun, physical activity.
These programs have been implemented at four elementary schools in Robeson County: St. Pauls, Green Grove, W.H. Knuckles and Peterson.
Project H.E.A.L.T.H. extends physical activity and nutrition education to parents by offering information and tips during PTA meetings. Teachers are also offered opportunities to participate in nutrition and physical activity classes which, according to Zepaltas, inspires them to engage in healthy eating habits, physical activity, and stress management, and to become role models for their students.
Project H.E.A.L.T.H. also participates in local summer programs, including those hosted at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Robeson County.
The PBH is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote health through increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
The organization has named 40 non-retail companies within the fruit and vegetable industry as Fruits & Veggies-More Matters Role Models and Champions for 2011 in recognition of their support for the national public health campaign and for PBH.
For more information about Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Community Health Services and Project H.E.A.L.T.H., call Diane Zepaltas at (910) 671-5595.
In the Picture: Community Dietitian Diane Zepaltas is shown with the Produce for Better Health organization’s Fruits & Veggies-More Matters Role Model award, which was awarded to Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Community Health Services department.
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