At The Nutrition Center, we believe that every child in the Berkshires should have the right to make healthy food choices. Too many of our youth have never eaten fresh vegetables, and many will grow to adulthood not knowing how to prepare basic, healthy foods. That is because children rarely participate in the preparation of their own food. Parents and school food services understandably don’t want to purchase food that children won’t eat and so the variety of  foods – especially vegetables – decreases. The result is a diet that is contributing to increasing weight and poor health. Too many children are experiencing what used to be adult onset diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea. The child overweight/obesity rate is 34.9 percent for school age children in Berkshire County, setting them up for a lifetime of health issues. The need for nourishment through food education and home economics has never been greater. Research supports that an increase in fruit and vegetable intake decreases risk of disease. Research also supports that lessons in hands-on food preparation results in a higher intake of fruits and vegetables. (Click here forResearch References)Early nutritional and cooking education fosters a respect for making healthy food choices.  We support the recent article in the Boston Globe that argues for the revival of home economics in the schools, citing a “comprehensive curriculum” that includes basic cooking techniques, food safety, and nutrient information. Kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods if they are given the opportunity to learn about and prepare these foods. By reviving a home ec program in schools, students of all ages can learn the essential life skill of  preparing good, nutritious food.The Nutrition Center has created the present-day model for home economic classes. Its Food Adventures program offers food prep instruction and nutrition education using a standards-based curriculum that incorporates science, math, culture, language, health, and art. These programs go into the classrooms to teach students and teachers how to prepare nourishing food, exposing them to all types of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fresh foods. Expansion is needed to reach every school, youth group, and community center in the county. (Click here forWhy Food Adventures?)The Food Adventures program is often the only exposure that students get to preparing wholesome meals. In the most recent findings of the 2013 health rankings by county, Berkshire County ranks 11 out of the 14 counties in MA. It is urgent that we address the growing health crisis, which includes a high rate of adult and child obesity. Now is the time to take action and bring new version of home economics back into our schools. (Click here for In These Schools)We invite you to sign our Declaration to Improve the Nutrition Status of Children in the Berkshires. By signing your name, you are expressing your support for:1       Providing food and nutrition education to every child in the county. In the last school year Food Adventures reached 265 classrooms serving about 2,500 children. It is our goal to reach every classroom in Berkshire County – reaching all 18,593 school age children!2 Making healthy food a priority at local schools.3 Preventing obesity and disease in our children through nutrition education and food preparation skills.4 Promoting a culture where healthy food choices are the norm.Please consider signing our Declaration and to see other ways YOU can help take action Click Here!

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