Medical and college students prepared nutrition lesson plans for students of all ages, parents, and teachers. For younger children, the curriculum included starting the lesson with a story about a hungry caterpillar. We used the story to teach the children about bad food choices leading to a stomachache and good food choices allowing the caterpillar to become a beautiful butterfly. This led to a brief discussion about the components of the food pyramid. Finally, we talked about the importance of combining exercise with healthy eating for a healthy body.
We then asked the children to volunteer to show their favorite exercises. We gave volunteers Carlito’s ABC coloring book and crayons. This coloring book was created by two medical students and discusses healthy food choices from A-Z in Spanish while giving fun food facts about each choice. Eventually, we distributed copies of these to the entire class. We also gave copies to the teachers to go through the activities with the class and reinforce the lesson. The lesson plan for older children was more flexible and based on the age of the group we encountered. For the older children, we used a felt pyramid and laminated foods to thoroughly go through the food pyramid and quizzed the children at the end of the lesson. We also discussed the importance of exercise.
We found that school directors and teachers were extremely receptive to our visits. The school children seemed to enjoy the lectures as they paid attention, participated in the discussions and asked thoughtful questions. Overall, we saw the need for our lectures. In many of the schools, there were candy vendors sitting at the entrance. By the end of the lectures, the students were able to talk about choosing options like bananas and yucca over candy when buying snacks at school.
Group of medical and colleger students who traveled to Bolivia in 2005.
In addition to the NICU training aspect of our Guatemala trip in 2005, two Baylor medical students also came to provide nutritional educations to a group of mothers at a medical clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala called “Seeds of Hope.” Evelyn Chang and Rachel Scheisser led a presentation in Spanish on the food guide pyramid; although in Guatemala the national food educational tool is a pot instead of a pyramid. They educated mothers on how to provide healthy and nutritious foods for their families.
Afterwards, we were able to venture out into the community to visit with some of the families who had attended and there was a very positive response back from everyone who had attended. In addition, they were able to verbalize some of the nutrition information that Evelyn and Rachel had taught to them that day. Ahe children loved the Spanish nutrition coloring books and crayons that we passed out.