Three years ago, members of the Monroe Owen County Medical Society (MOCMS) decided to put their concerns about childhood obesity into action.
|In May, Daniel Lodge-Rigal, M.D., MOCMS president, accepted an award for the society’s commitment to the health and wellness of students in Monroe County schools.
“I think medical societies are challenged to define their purpose for their membership and to be vital,” said Daniel Lodge-Rigal, M.D., president of the MOCMS. “The school grant program is one way we have found to accomplish this and also benefit our community. We are still in the early stages, but overall, the program has already been successful in helping engage school-age children in healthy eating and exercise activities.”
Using $3,000 from their available funds, MOCMS members established the Healthy Schools Grant Program to help local elementary and junior high schools educate students about healthy lifestyles. The program continues to offer grants ranging from $300 to $1,000 per project.
Last year, six schools combined the MOCMS grant money with other partnerships for these projects:
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program – Provided students with healthy snack choices and nutritional information. With help from the Nutrition Club at IU, students taste-tested healthy foods, which were incorporated into school lunches. Students also learned about gardening and composting.
- bSafe bFit curriculum – Combined a nutrition and physical activity-based program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
- Signage for a community fitness trail – Students tested and selected “kid-friendly” exercises for stations along the trail. Chosen exercises were posted on signs at each station.
- Gardens and composting initiatives – Students planted gardens and sampled vegetables they grew.
- Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program – The MOCMS grant complimented this national program that increases student access to fruits and vegetables by placing salad bars in school cafeterias.
Additionally, the MOCMS supports four other community programs, including a domestic violence shelter and a local clinic for the uninsured.