March is recognized as National Nutrition Month, and with the beginning of the month comes the start of a new initiative at Wildwood.
Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) is a nationwide effort to promote awareness and change in the areas of eating and exercise. Wildwood Schools adopted the initiative for the first time in 2014, with the hopes of improving nutritional habits and increasing physical activity for students. The focus was placed on educating students about choices they could make in the areas of nutrition and exercise, and how healthy habits can be beneficial in all aspects of life. With HEAL in place, the school began to provide regular physical activities and increase the amount of healthy food choices available. A walking club started, where participants are recognized and awarded for the amount they walk, access to a track and greenhouse was created as a way to provide additional healthy activities.
With the success of HEAL at the school, it was decided to bring rest of Wildwood in on the initiative. The new push will focus on reaching residences, staff members, and programs that haven’t previously been involved. To kick it off, a competition has been put in place for people to test their knowledge, educate themselves through nutrition-based games, and share how they stay active and eat healthy. Through creating this fun, competitive environment, the hope is for people to recognize the healthy choices that they’re already making – and what potential changes can be made in the future.\
Though awareness is the primary goal, recognizing choices and change is just as important. Things like: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cutting down to 4 cans of soda a day from 5, substituting olive oil for butter when cooking, or eating fresh vegetables instead of canned…all of these can be beneficial. A path started with a few small steps can lead to a big success.
Despite National Nutrition Month being the catalyst for the HEAL kickoff, the potential for this initiative remains boundless, even after March is over.