Elementary School Takes Healthy to the Next Level

Elementary School Takes Healthy to the Next Level

By Lindsey Theis. CREATED May 21, 2013

Omaha, NE-From the way to school to the end of the day, Fontenelle Elementary principal Eric Nelson is on a mission to make it the healthiest school of its kind. This year, principal Nelson has implemented about half a dozen programs, all designed to have the students there making healthy choices.

A school garden, fitness centered play ground, and a school walking program are among the programs. To date, the 50 kids in the walking program have taken 390,400 steps, the same distance from the school all the way to Jefferson City, Missouri.

"Everywhere that children go, everywhere that we all go we all have the opportunity to make the healthy choice the easy choice. That's what makes a difference," Mary Balluff, with the Douglas County Health Department says.

The Health Department backs Fontenelle's programs, saying that two thirds of adults and one third of children in Omaha are obese.

The most successful program is something called Grab and Go. The students pick up their breakfast and take it with them to class.

"It gets you up and ready. Just like lunch gets you for the rest of the day," 11 year old Alex Erwin says.

"It's cut down our nurse visits to nothing. It's cut down our behaviors. There's no more office referrals in the morning. The kids are walking to class calmly, so the whole day starts off on a nice, easy calm setting," Nelson says.

Before the program, about 320 of Fontenelle's 640 students were eating breakfast. Now, they serve upwards of 550 students a day.