January 30, 2014

24/7 Let's Go! for Healthy Students

Source: NYSUT Health Care Professionals
Caption: Teacher Carol Mistretta and her fifth-grade students march to promote healthy food and activity choices at Woodhull Elementary School on Long Island. Thousands of children statewide are marching toward better health as NYSUT expands its 24/7 Let's Go! healthy lifestyles program this year.

24/7 Let's Go! is a program developed by the NYSUT Health Care Professionals Council to encourage schoolchildren to get off the couch and into action, and to avoid junk food in favor of fruits and vegetables.

The goal is to get young students to take 7 positive steps a day with physical activity and healthy eating habits. 24-7 Let's Go! kits for classrooms include stickers and action charts for students to track their progress and pamphlets to explain the program for providers and parents.

Kits are free to NYSUT members and can be ordered by sending an e-mail to orders@nysutmail.org. Be sure to include a mailing address and specify how many sets you will need for distribution. Since NYSUT first offered 24/7 Let's Go! in 2005, it has distributed more than 100,000 kits.

Classrooms without official stickers may participate by downloading and printing the Action Chart. Students can mark their charts with a pen or pencil: "A" for physical activity and "HF" for happy, healthy food consumption.

The American Cancer Society endorsed 24/7 Let's Go! in 2007. The ACS says obesity increases the risk of certain types of cancer and that the proportion of children ages 6 to 19 who are overweight has tripled during the past three decades. It's a natural partnership; like the NYSUT program, the cancer society encourages educators and parents to get kids active, eating right and on the road to a healthier lifestyle. That philosophy became even more important in September 2008, when new regulations on student physicals took effect, including the tracking of student Body Mass Index by the state Health Department.