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250 County School Rd. | Lexington, NC 27293 phone Phone: 336-249-8182 phone Fax: 336-249-1062
Student Wellness » Recent Events

Recent Events

Speedway to Healthy Exhibit
What is the Speedway to Healthy?

The Speedway to Healthy is a 1,200-square-foot, walk-through exhibit representing the human body. This creative educational exhibit teaches children in kindergarten through fifth (K-5) grades how the foods they eat affect their bodies and their health.

Why was the Speedway to Healthy project developed?

Childhood obesity is a widespread issue in the state and the nation. The Speedway to Healthy project was created as a resource to fight childhood obesity and poor health among children in North Carolina.
 
Read more: Dispatch article
 
Exhibit teaches through hands-on experience
Fourth-grade students move through the Davidson County Health Department's 'Speedway to Healthy' body maze at the Davidson County Recreation Department.
[Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch]
Elizabeth Butcher shows students how the kidneys filter blood at the 'Speedway to Healthy' exhibit held at the Davidson County Parks and Recreation Department. [Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch][Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch]
Carmen Carrick (center) teaches Keila Rodriguez and Andrew Chico how to floss teeth in the 'mouth' station at the 'Speedway to Healthy' exhibit held at the Davidson County Parks and Recreation Department on Thursday. [Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch]

Stories from Headlines Network
By Mat Batts / The Dispatch
More than 1,600 fourth-grade students from across Davidson County flooded the Lexington City Department of Parks and Recreation’s gym last week, racing through an hour-long, hands-on program known as the “Speedway to Healthy.”

Hosted by the Davidson County Health Department, in partnership with the Cooperative Extension program at North Carolina A&T State University, the three-day event took a unique approach to teaching kids about childhood obesity and healthy lifestyle best practices.

In small groups of eight to 10, students worked their way through 11 “pit-stops,” each representing a separate part of the human body. Throughout the journey, students identified as different pieces of food and simulated working through the human body. Approximately 30 volunteers split up around each station and presented five-minute mini lessons complete with props and visual aids.

“It’s very much interactive,” said Jen Hames, health department education supervisor and promotion coordinator. “They are showing kids (examples), they are demonstrating things. The kids are involved.”

Hames said last week was the first time the health department has offered the exhibit and said it dovetails nicely with “the obesity epidemic, which is such a big push for us,” in addition to a focus on nutrition education and healthy eating.

“And hopefully because it is interactive it will stick with them longer as they go through school,” Hames said.

Beginning at 8 a.m. last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, classes from both Davidson County Schools and Thomasville City Schools rotated in hour-long blocks to ensure that every student had an opportunity to experience the display.

As students from Liberty Drive Elementary School took their turn Thursday morning, fourth-grade teacher Marcia Nichols watched.

“Kids love field trips,” Nichols said. “They love to get out of the class and this was really good where they can be hands on and they can learn about things that are really beneficial to them that will really help them in their everyday living outside of school.”

Nichols said the Speedway to Healthy exhibit paired well with the fourth-grade science curriculum that students are learning. And for students that might not have an established routine for healthy eating or exercise, Nichols said the program offered important lessons.

“We’re a Title One school. We are a little bit low-income,” she said. “A lot of these kids just simply don’t know. They don’t have the facts or maybe the person they live with wasn’t taught to give them the healthy environment they need, so I think it’s really beneficial to see and actually talk to the nurses.”

Shortly after exiting the exhibit, Liberty Drive student Gavin Bushnell reflected on his experience.

“My favorite part, I think, was the brain,” Gavin said, where he learned that “it can control your taste buds and signal stuff to your body,”

The 10-year-old said he also learned about cavities and dietary needs “and that you can get a bad lung from smoking cigarettes and using tobacco” and “there’s different stuff in the heart where you can get it clogged up and works harder to get blood in your body.”

Teacka Wright, another 10-year-old Liberty Drive student, said her favorite part was learning about the human body, especially “that one way to keep your bones strong is to exercise and you have to eat healthy food.”

Her key takeaways were matter-of-fact: “You have to eat healthy foods to keep your muscles strong,” she said, “And you have to drink eight glasses of water a day.”
 
Mat Batts can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227, or at batts@the-dispatch.com.
Follow Mat on Twitter: @LexDispatchMBSee

DCS photos:
Speedway to Healthy