From The Superintendent’s Seat:
The Health Corps Comes to Syosset
Childhood obesity, physical unfitness, and substance abuse among children and teens have become far too prevalent in our country. Schools are looking for ways to help their students break unhealthy habits and give them the knowledge and the practical advice they need to develop practices that will ensure them a healthy lifestyle they can maintain throughout their lives. Syosset Schools is taking the proactive approach to student health by joining a program developed by renowned heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, The Health Corps.
I had met Dr. Oz and wanted the District to learn about his program. Health Corps is a program patterned after the Peace Corps, and it brings young volunteers into schools and community to help them learn and develop healthy lifelong practices that they will follow and pass onto future generations to come. It is a joint effort of Touro College School of Education and Psychology and Columbia University.
Health and wellness has always been a very valued part of our curriculum, and Dr. Oz’s program is one that really makes it exciting and relevant to high school students.
He fascinated a group of students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and members of the Syosset Board of Education with his demonstration of how an individual’s diet and lifestyle profoundly affects their physical health and well-being.
As he has done in several appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz brought with him an assortment of human organs that clearly showed the influence that diet and exercise has on an individual’s health. The difference between organs that had been affected by bad dietary and exercise habits and those that had not was far greater than most of us had ever imagined it could be.
The students who attended this demonstration had unending questions for Dr. Oz. Wearing protective gloves, they closely examined the organs he had brought. Then, without prompting, a group of students placed the organs in the way that they are situated in the body. With a little help from Dr. Oz, they soon had a representation of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems laid out on the table before them, with the brain at the head of the table. This was a lesson they would always remember!
The Health Corps program is designed to impact many areas of student life, including nutrition, cooking, fitness, and education on substance abuse. Health Corps representatives, who are all young college graduates pursuing careers in the health field, will be resources for teachers of science, health, physical education, and more. They can also become involved in student co-curricular group activities.
One of the ways that students are shown the importance of good nutrition is through the use of a machine that measures metabolic rate. Given that individual number it can tell each student (and faculty members) exactly how many calories he or she actually requires to maintain a healthy body. Parents will also have the opportunity to become involved in the program.
Our State Senator, Carl Marcellino, who has always been a strong supporter of the school district, attended the presentation and consequently promised to provide the funding for the program. Syosset High School will be the first public school in the state outside of New York City to join the Health Corps. I am very excited about the opportunities that this program presents to our students.#