Healthy Kids    

Education is key for good nutrition

The Best Bones Forever! Program run by Laurie Mozian, the project coordinator for the Community Heart Health Coalition for Ulster County is for girls ages 9 to 14 and a parent or caregiver. The program’s goal is to educate both parents and their daughters about the importance of calcium, Vitamin D and bone-strengthening activities in their lifestyles.


This information made a big impact on Bridget Ean and her daughters, ages 10 and 13. While Ean has always taken them grocery shopping with her, now the girls are reading nutrition labels. “They’ll look at something and say, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t get this because it has too much of this or that,’ Ean said. They now join Ean in packing their lunches for school, helping her to make better choices for them. In addition, Ashley, who usually skipped the morning meal, now eats breakfast every morning.


The program helped Audrey, 10, the daughter of Connie Rogers of the Town of Olive, be open to trying new foods. She had the opportunity to sample new foods during snack time in the classes. Rogers said that Audrey has never been a vegetable fan, but since starting the program, she has been willing to try new vegetables, and Rogers has been inspired to offer them, where she wasn’t before.

During the program, the girls kept food journals so that they could become aware of the types of foods they were eating and what nutritional needs they were meeting. “I used to eat a lot of cookies and things, and now I don’t,” said Ashley Ean. “I made a goal that I wasn’t going to eat so much junk food anymore, so I don’t want to anymore,” she said, noting that it is particularly hard at school parties where junk food abounds.


BodyWorks trainer Jill Ann Schwartz worked extensively with the girls on exercise and body image. “One of the things that I thought was really powerful about the program was making the girls and the parents aware of the impact of media on body image and self-esteem,” Schwartz said. She showed videos from the website about what goes into making the ads we see on television, billboards and magazines. “The family can support a girl in making choices that are not dictated by the media,” Schwartz said.


Schwartz also introduced the girls to fun and different ways to get that bone-strengthening exercise that is so important to them at this point in their lives. They sampled yoga, hip hop, stretch bands, kick boxing, Zumba, jump rope and skip it (a toy that fastens a rope with a ball around the ankle so that a child can swing it and jump over it), to name a few. In the Ean household, this translated to turning the TV off more and exercising instead. Ean’s daughters like to do a yoga video, and the family is getting out and walking more together.


Freelance writer Joanne McFadden enjoys exercise and healthy eating in Charlton, NY.


For more information on the Best Bones Forever! program click here.