Bringing a Healthy Message (and Fake Food) to Families at the Chicago Children’s Museum

Adam Paberzs

by Adam Paberzs, Health Education Intern

The Chicago Children’s Museum played host to a fun and family-oriented health and wellness fair on January 27, 2011 at Navy Pier. Kids and parents came from all over the city to learn about healthy habits, receive free screenings, and enjoy physical activities. I was there to represent CLOCC at the event.

The fair was an exciting and energetic event, and amidst the hustle and bustle, children and families found their way to my table to learn about 5-4-3-2-1 Go!™  - CLOCC’s public education campaign to promote healthy lifestyles for children. The CLOCC table offered an interactive visual representation of the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message using tools like food models that illustrated each of the healthy lifestyle recommendations. Kids and parents alike couldn’t resist touching the food models and comparing the different examples of servings of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. The kids especially loved (and even tried to taste) the orange, cheese, and strawberry models. The milk models won over even the museum staff, who expressed genuine shock at the amount of fat found in whole milk compared to skim.

My interaction with parents led to lots of interesting questions such as, “Does rice milk and regular milk have the same amount of nutrients?”, “How much cheese is too much?”, and “Do chores count as physical activity?” One father shared his concern about the nutritional quality of the lunches being served at his son’s day-care center.  We discussed some of the challenges he encountered working with the day-care staff, and ideas for communicating the importance of moving toward healthier food options. It served as a reminder of the important role schools and childcare facilities play in getting children the nutrients they need to be healthy.

The Chicago Children’s Museum continues to partner with communities and organizations like CLOCC throughout the city to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children and their families. Every Thursday, CCM hosts a Free Family Night that allows kids and families to experience a range of cultural, educational, and health and wellness activities.  During Free Family Night, the museum uses different exhibits to encourage fun physical movement, health and wellness, and a spirit of exploration.

To learn more about the Chicago Children’s Museum, visit the museum’s website.  For more information and a list of available 5-4-3-2-1 Go! resources, check out CLOCC’s
5-4-3-2-1 Go! home page.

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