“Come on! Get up! Move with me,” Fresno State students shout out in encouragement.
In response, young kids at Teague Elementary School scream in unison, as they hop on one leg – with giggles escaping their mouth as determination beams across their face.
It’s an overcast spring day with looming clouds foreshadowing the rain to come, but inside the cafeteria of Teague Elementary, the young students are moving about with different games and activities meant to keep them physically active.
It was Healthy Living Week at Teague Elementary – a weeklong collaboration between students in the College of Health and Human Services Honors Program in Collaborative Leadership and students from Kinesiology 152, as well as members of the Kinesiology Pedagogy Club. For the Honors Program students, promoting the idea of healthy living to this group of youth in the after school program was important.
Through their Healthy Living Week, the Honors Program students wanted to focus on the prevention of childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in youth. They began their research early in the fall semester, where they examined factors that may increase a child’s likelihood of developing one of these illnesses and what the results of being a child with these illnesses might be when it comes to long-term effects.
“Our Health Living Week, which took place April 16 – 19th, focused on three main points: exercise, nutrition and school policy,” said Maya Castellanos, an Honors Program student and Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies major. “We worked with Valley Children’s Healthcare’s Community Diabetes Program, which is focused on preventing this disease.”
Working alongside Valley Children’s Diabetes Program, the Honors Program students learned ways of preventing, and seeing a reduction in the rate of incidence, here in the Central Valley.
In addition to the Honors Students providing health tips, dietetics students with the Fresno State Diabetes Coalition also came out to provide nutrition information to parents and their kids during Healthy Living Week.
Castellanos said the idea was for the young students to participate in the activities with their parents so they can both continue to practice healthy living in their homes and in their schools.
Inside the cafeteria and on the blacktop, the young students engaged in physical activity. Across the way, the honors and dietetics students lined the hallway with posters that talked about healthy eating habits and wellness activities. The posters were positioned so that the parents would see it as they picked up their kids.
For the past academic year, the Honors Program students have worked on projects together that focus on a health and human service issue facing the Central Valley. Through the program, students of different majors work interprofessionally on a specific project. Castellanos said this worked toward their favor in terms of completing their project.
“Obviously our backgrounds are diverse and only a few are directly related to the medical field but we have all been able to bring our unique backgrounds and perspectives to help make our project what it is,” Castellanos said. “This dynamic has fostered interprofessional collaboration by making us adapt our schedules, our interests, and some of our jargon. We have also found that in delegating tasks, there is always someone who has a little more expertise than the rest of the group. We all bring different skills and knowledge bases to the team, which allows us to develop creative ideas and execute well-designed plans.”
According to Castellanos, the CHHS Honors Program has been a positive experience.
“I personally have gained a lot of interpersonal skills,” Castellanos said. “Working on a team can be difficult, but the tools and methods we discuss in the class enable us work more effectively together and help create a more positive working environment for the whole team.”
Honors students conducting the Healthy Living Week project include: Maya Castellanos (Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies), Fatema Alzaki (Public Health), Evan Cameron (Nursing), Suwaine Manning (Kinesiology), Erin Paz (Recreation Administration), and Rosemary Perez (Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies).
Learn more about the Honors Program in Collaborative Leadership on our website.
-Written by Rebeca Flores, CHHS communication student assistant.