Freeport is an underserved, urban community in Nassau County with a childhood obesity rate of 16.0% and a childhood untreated tooth decay rate of 27.1%, both figures of which are reported higher among low-income families 1. With studies indicating sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles among children in the U.S. with adult-onset chronic diseases including diabetes, periodontal disease, and lung disease, Global Project Hope sought to reinforce the importance of maintaining good health and wellness among the youth so future generations can break this trend.
Thus, over the past 3 years, Global Project Hope and its volunteers conducted health education summer camps for elementary school children in Freeport, NY titled “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise,” based on our workbook of the same title. It is an interactive workbook developed with insights from health professionals that teaches lessons on bullying, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hygiene using the story of a fictional character named Justin. There is also a companion teacher’s workbook that details how to instruct the material with various activities.
After 2 weeks of instruction on the material, the camp ended with a school-wide health fair where our students disseminate the knowledge they learned to their peers. You can see some of the pictures from the health fair here!
In our last iteration of the program, we conducted pre- and post-surveys of basic health education components to measure the efficacy of our program. The results showed that our program significantly increased the knowledge base of students on each of the modules taught. Figure 1., below, depicts these results (Talwar, 2017).
We’re excited to continue conducting the summer camp and further expanding it. If you know of a school or community who may benefit from this program, feel free to contact us here.
1. Nassau County Indicators For Tracking Public Health Priority Areas, 2013