The rising number of overweight and obese children continues to be a serious health concern. That’s why the Dairy Council of California launched “Shaping Up My Choices,” a nutrition education program designed to help children improve health and develop positive eating habits. The program is tailored for students in pre-school through high school.

“Through Shaping Up My Choices, students will expand their nutritional knowledge while they learn a host of skills that will help build a strong foundation for lifelong wellness,” said Peggy Biltz, chief executive officer of Dairy Council of California, based in Sacramento, Calif.

The program will teach students how to use the MyPyramid Food Group system, the importance of eating a healthy breakfast, and how to choose healthy snacks and beverages that include milk and milk products. Other lessons include understanding the importance of individual nutrients like calcium and protein, identifying serving sizes, reading food labels and ways to get more exercise.

“With Shaping Up My Choices, we have incorporated the most effective features of all of our other classroom programs into a bright, colorful and engaging package that students will enjoy and teachers will find easy to teach,” Biltz said.

As with all of its nutrition education programs, Dairy Council of California conducted extensive preliminary testing before gearing up for the launch. Offered in English and Spanish, Shaping Up My Choices is expected to reach up to 200,000 California third graders during the 2010-2011 school year. It also meets educational requirements by aligning with California state math, language arts, science and health standards, and includes a take-home family homework component to engage parents in the learning process.

“Shaping Up My Choices is a good example of how the dairy industry is committed to being a part of the solution to the obesity epidemic,” Biltz said. “By using the right educational approach, we can help individuals learn to make healthy food choices, which include selections from milk and milk products.” 

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