Southeast Health District Wellness Leaders Plan for Success

May 11, 2015

Fostering a culture of health and wellness among children is no easy task. Just like learning new a new habit, it takes planning, hard work, and most importantly, consistency.

That’s why early child care professionals in the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Southeast Health District were excited to participate in a two-day crash course focused on developing, executing, sustaining and assessing a wellness policy.

Hosted in Waycross, Georgia, the Georgia Shape wellness policy training event was led by leaders from DPH’s Chronic Disease Prevention Section.  These training efforts promote many of the Georgia Shape projects and programs to improve childhood fitness, physical activity levels and healthy nutrition across the state.

The training event’s agenda centered on introducing child educators to the resources, nutrition guidelines and physical activity needs to successfully build a culture of wellness and instill healthy habits.

During the first day, HealthMPowers trained teams of early child care providers from multiple centers using Georgia's Growing Fit Kit, a Georgia Shape collaboration that includes partners from the Department of Early Care and Learning, Action for Healthy Kids, HealthMPowers and the Chronic Disease Prevention Section at the Department of Public Health, among others. This valuable resource helps early care providers create and implement wellness policies for early care environments.

The participants engaged in interactive learning, assessing their wellness policies as a team and modeling brain breaks and nutritious food demonstrations that could be integrated into their center.

During the second day, the Southeast Health District Staff recruited educators from eight counties, representing all 56 schools in the district, to attend a day-long training titled “Cultivating the Culture of Fitness: Wellness Policies in Georgia's Schools.”

Attendees were provided resources available for schools that promote nutrition and physical activity amongst the students and staff, as well as guidance on the development of policies and basics in grant writing.

The training was a success thanks to the various partners dedicated to advancing child health including HealthMPowers, Georgia State University Health Policy Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Strong4Life, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Power Up for 30 staff.

Each of these partners helped enrich the training event by hosting individual breakout sessions to highlight their associated programs, answer attendee questions and host demonstrations of classroom exercise and nutritional lesson activities.

The wellness policy training sessions, which were funded by the 1305 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chronic Disease (CDC) Collaborative Grant, covered the content and resources needed to get kids eating healthier and moving more – everything from grant writing, Fitnessgram and Power Up for 30 to Farm to School programs and Smarter Lunchrooms.       

After two full days of intense education and training, attendees were well-equipped to head back into their communities and put their new skills into action. With the information gained during this event, children and students in the Southeast Health District will be well on their way to learning positive fitness, health and nutrition habits that will last a lifetime.

For more information about Georgia Shape, please visit www.GeorgiaShape.org. To learn more about the Southeast Health District programs and services, go to www.sehdph.org.                                                                       

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