‘E-field trips’ help kids make healthy lifestyle choices

During an "e-field trip" with local students that was hosted
by our children's hospital, Claudia Fox, MD, and Aaron
Kelly, PhD, shared nutrition and exercise information and
resources—including the Vikings Fitness Playbook, which
helps kids track their exercise.
Oct. 28, 2013
Earlier this month, more than 100 local elementary students learned about the importance of developing healthy eating and exercise habits from two medical experts and a Vikings tight end—all without leaving their classrooms.

Instead, “e-field trips”—presented by University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital— brought lessons about exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices directly into the classrooms of four local elementary schools.

Using technology to promote health
Through live video conferencing, Claudia Fox, MD, director of University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital’s Weight Management Program, and Aaron Kelly, PhD, assistant professor of pediatric epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, shared information about the importance of nutrition and exercise.

As part of each presentation, students were invited to ask questions and volunteer discussion points from the comfort of their classrooms.

John Carlson, Minnesota Vikings tight end, also presented a pre-recorded video message encouraging students to develop good eating and exercise habits. Carlson wrapped up the e-field trip by announcing a contest that will reward students who rack up the most hours of exercise over the next two months.

The 30-minute e-field trip was presented consecutively to students at four schools, including Lincoln, Birch Lake and Otter Lake elementary schools in White Bear Lake and Oneka Elementary School in Hugo.

Students were given a variety of wellness resources to take home with them, including parent handouts, information on the importance of developing healthy habits, nutritional meal tips and a Vikings Fitness Playbook to track how much they exercise.

In a couple of months, during a second e-field trip, Carlson will check on the students’ success in developing healthy eating and exercise habits. The student with the most charted physical activity from each classroom will be invited to visit Winter Park, the Vikings training center in Eden Prairie, with a parent or guardian.
Video conferencing equipment enabled the local elementary
students to talk with the medical experts and ask questions
without leaving their classrooms.

Making healthy choices as a family
“E-field trips such as this provide us with a great tool to reach children right in their classrooms with really important lessons about nutrition and physical activity,” Dr. Fox says.

“Our hope is that they go home tonight and discuss what they learned in class today with their parents and begin to make healthy choices as a family.”

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital’s e-field trips come on the heels of September’s National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese, a condition that puts kids at risk for diseases previously only seen in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

KSTP-TV aired a story about the e-field trips.


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