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Round 700 elementary college students go to UNK for ‘Nebraska Children Health and Vitamin Day’

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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) – Around 700 students made their way to the University of Nebraska-Kearney Health and Sports Center and Cushing Coliseum Thursday to learn the importance of staying healthy and active. The 18th annual Nebraska Kids Fitness and Nutrition Day was hosted by the Department of Kinesiology and Exercise Science. Fourth graders learned about portion sizes, threw frisbees, played with a rainbow-colored parachute, and more.

UNK student volunteers taught the children about food health and exercise through interactive games and lessons.

Catherine Boyce, an elementary school student at UNK, helped students teach how to read nutrition labels during the event. She said it was important to bring fourth graders out to learn about these topics.

“I think it’s important to start young so that it becomes a habit, so that students can take good care of their bodies, and that it just becomes a routine like, ‘Oh, I have to watch what I eat, not that much. ‘ from … ‘let’s say,’ … pop and drink more water instead, “said Boyce.

The fourth graders arrived on campus around 9 a.m. and got lots of exercise and educational activities with their classmates.

Kade Fuller, a student at Buffalo Hills Elementary School, said he learned some important lessons about how to stay active.

“Stuff about calories and burning calories, and if you deserve them – getting calories, you have to burn them,” Fuller said.

He added that he and his classmates ran Thursday to burn the calories from the food they consumed during the event. He then discovered that he had received an “Apple” sticker that showed how many calories he had burned while exercising.

Fuller said his favorite healthy snack is either an apple or a banana, and that he might try more fruits and vegetables after the fitness and nutrition day.

Associate Professor Bryce Abbey, who teaches exercise science courses at the university, said not only were hundreds of fourth graders in attendance at the event, but more than 100 of their own students volunteered at the event. He noted that many of the volunteers were elementary school students – which also makes it a learning opportunity for the future educators.

Boyce said while interacting with her groups there was one point that particularly surprised her.

“A lot of kids think that you can only get protein from meat, as someone who doesn’t eat that much meat I can tell them, ‘Oh, you get it from beans, you can get it from different nuts and’ things'” ” , she said. “And they say, ‘Woah, what.’ So just broaden your horizons in different ways. “

Abbey said there was such an important reason why they would continue to welcome fourth grade students to Fitness and Food Day for so many years.

“Children eat too little fruit and vegetables, eat too many snacks, and so the only option is to educate them about these healthy habits,” said Abbey.

The last activities of the day ended around 2:00 p.m.

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