Creslane kindergartner Kayleen Alonzo-Sanders has evidently gotten CATCH’s message about ”Go” foods as she shows her enthusiasm for broccoli. The school’s CATCH program, which uses a color-coded ”Stoplight” approach (Green for ”Go,” Yellow for ”Go Slow” and Red for ”Whoa”) to help kids identify and choose healthy foods. GINI DAVIS/THE CHRONICLE
CRESWELL – Bolstered by a $20,000 Lane County Public Health (LCPH) grant, Creswell Middle School is out to ”CATCH” students eating healthy foods and being physically active.
The two-pronged Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) program works to prevent/reduce childhood obesity by helping children identify and choose healthy foods and encouraging them to increase their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
This is accomplished by involving and changing the community/educational ”system” – impacting messages received in health and physical education classes, the lunchroom, other classes and at home to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle that will last a lifetime.
And while Lane County elementary schools – including Creslane – have participated in CATCH for several years, CMS and Oaklea are the County’s first middle schools involved in a five-year pilot program.
Participating schools may use their $2,000 annual grant in any CATCH-promoting way they choose – purchasing additional PE equipment, funding outdoor activities, developing handouts for kids, etc.
Schools provide LCPH with students’ BMI (Body Mass Index: body composition based on height, weight, age and sex), survey each year’s eighth graders and teach the provided lessons.
”Lane County came to us; this kind of fell into our laps – probably because Creslane is already part of it,” said CMS CATCH Team chair, physical education/health specialist Didier Hemelsoet, who suggested a GaGa Ball pit as one grant-funded equipment option.
A high-energy sport similar to Dodge ball, GaGa ball is played in a large octagonal pit. It combines the skills of dodging, striking, running and jumping as players hit a lightweight bouncy ball with open or closed hands, trying to hit opponents below the knees.
”They have (a GaGa pit) at Christian Grove Camp (in Dorena), where we had Outdoor School last year, and the kids loved it,” Hemelsoet said.