Schools participate in healthy keiki program

Recently a project was launched with the intent to teach Kaua‘i’s children a few good habits. The Kaua‘i Keiki Healthy Lifestyles Project was sponsored by Florelle’s O‘hana and the University of Hawai‘i Clinical Research Center. The following Kaua‘i elementary schools participated: Hanalei, Island School, Kalaheo, Kapa‘a, Kilauea, King Kaumualii, Koloa, Island School and Waimea Canyon.

The program introduced the “Healthy Body Image” curriculum developed by Kathy Hater and a team of mental health professionals and educators.

It includes 10 lessons designed to promote healthy lifestyles and improve body image and self-esteem among fourth- to sixth-grade students. It is based on prevention principles and strives to give students engaging, interactive and hands-on learning.

The project not only provided teacher training and all of the needed materials, but also included a built-in evaluation for measuring the benefit to students.

Surveys were given to the students and parents before and after the curriculum in order to measure short-term benefits in multiple areas such as self-esteem, body image, and overall health. There will also be a follow-up survey in one year to measure long-term benefits. These results will help tailor a program that is culturally effective and best meets the needs of Kaua‘i keiki. The study was completed in June. The data will be published in a medical journal. Teachers who participated said they plan to continue teaching the curriculum next year.

Florelle’s Ohana is a community-based program with a mission to promote positive body image, improve self-esteem and foster healthy lifestyles. The ultimate goal is to prevent eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and obesity in children and young adults.

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