Atherton Wolverines Learn About Taking Care of Themselves

Maria Salinas Project Coordinator with Health in Our Hands engaging with a student
April 27, 2022

The first annual Student Health Fair took place in the gymnasium of Atherton Jr/Sr High School on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Over 350 7th-12th graders participated. Curriculum Director Tina Case invited members from the Health in Our Hands-Flint/Genesee Partnership to participate and provide hands-on activities to engage the students during the event. Commit 2 Fit, Health Alliance Plan and Health in Our Hands (HiOH) were three of ten community partners who attended the health fair.

HiOH engaged the students in an activity called “Too Much Sugar.” which aligns with the middle school curriculum unit on Type 2 diabetes:  “What Controls My Health." In “Too Much Sugar” Renee Bayer, Principal Investigator and Maria Salinas, Project Coordinator with Health in Our Hands (HiOH), showed the students the common breakfast and snack items and invited to compare the sugar content in their food (Captain Crunch vs Cheerios) and their drink (Coke vs Mt. Dew). Students were surprised to find how many of the foods they eat exceed the recommended limits for added sugar in their diets (25 grams per day for women and young people).  They were glad that an apple, while containing sugar, is natural sugar and not counted against the added sugar amount they eat.

Commit to Fit (C2F) and Health Alliance Plan (HAP) who are HiOH community partners were also onsite to provide healthy lifestyle activities to engage the Atherton Wolverines. Alaina Larrea with C2F engaged the students in physical activity and also had a too-much-sugar activity which involved actual sugar that was measured out to show the students how much sugar is in what they are consuming. Omar Sims with HAP encouraged physical activity through providing snacks as students demonstrated jumping jacks and push ups. Other organizations provided stress relief activities such as golf, fishing, and dog therapy.

Students were also invited to go down memory lane and post comments about what they remember or learned from "Monique's Story" about a teenager who is experiencing Type 2 diabetes that is part of the “What Controls My Health” curriculum. Students mentioned the several types of diabetes, genetic and environmental risk factors, and the importance of lifestyle changes.