Marietta second-graders and their families will no doubt reap the benefits of a pilot program aimed at teaching children the healthy way to eat.
Food is Elementary takes interactive nutrition activities to second-grade classrooms in the city district. They learn about whole and processed foods, how much sugar is in foods, and so on. The goal of the program isn't just teaching kids about healthy eating, but it's also an effort to attack the issue of hunger.
The partners behind this effort - Marietta Memorial Hospital, Peoples Bank and Marietta College - have come together to raise awareness and help eliminate hunger in the region. Food is Elementary is part of that effort. In addition to teaching kids healthy food to eat, it will teach them basic measuring, food preparation and safe knife handling skills.
Some readers may be surprised to see such a coordinated effort aimed at the issue of hunger. Some just don't see hunger as an issue in our community. But it is, both here and across the state:
- Ohio Food Banks reports 731,040 Ohio children struggle with not getting enough to eat.
- 700,000 Ohio children are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.
- The impact of hunger and poor nutrition on children includes iron deficiency, fatigue, headaches, frequent illness and obesity.
For the next 12 weeks, Marietta second graders will learn lessons that will help to keep them healthy for a lifetime. We commend the efforts of MMH, Peoples Bank and Marietta College and hope their goal of expanding Food is Elementary to all Washington County schools is a success.