By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — Students at the District 80 Primary Center not only learned about healthy eating habits and exercise on Tuesday, but were entertained in the process.
Food Play performed at the school, spreading its message in an effort to fight childhood obesity in a fun way."Food Play got its start in the early 80s," said Food Play stage manager Stephanie Thompson. "It's our fight against childhood obesity."According to information from the troupe, children follow the antics of Janey whose dream is to be a juggling superstart. With the help of the coach and the audience, JJ learns how to juggle the foods she eats to wind up with a balanced diet. "Food Play introduces USDA's My Plate food guide, helping children learn how to fill half their plates with fruits and veggies," information states. "Kids are encouraged to fuel up with breakfast every day, try a variety of whole grains, choose 'go' foods from all five food groups, and cut down on sugary, salty and fatty products. Students learn a host of ways to have fun being physically active every day, from participating in a sports team, destressing with yoga and dancing indoors on a rainy day."Primary Center Principal Shannon Marler said the troupe captured their audience during the performances."They are very dynamic and very motivated and motivating," Marler said. "It's interactive and the group held their attention well."The group was contacted after District 80 Food Services Director Darlene Brooks approached Marler. "Our food services director contacted me to see if we could bring them to the school to teach students about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles," Marler said. In addition to the program, Food Play will continue receive follow-up resources to keep the message alive all year long in the classroom and beyond.