Healthy Highway

December 31, 2011  • 

Healthy Highway is an innovative, curriculum-based K-5 interactive learning program that integrates nutrition and exercise into core academic subjects by using fun and imaginative “traffic” metaphors, equipping school-age children with the tools, skills and beliefs they need to embrace healthy choices throughout life.

Created in 2006 by Wendy Cooper, a retired physical education teacher and recognized health and physical education expert, Healthy Highway is taught in elementary schools and at afterschool programs in the Rochester, New York area, and materials are available to schools and community programs nationwide. Since its inception, Healthy Highway has motivated hundreds of school-age children and their families to change their eating habits and add more physical activity into their daily lives.

Healthy Highway also supports school foodservice departments in their efforts to contribute to a supportive school nutrition environment. Using the Healthy Highway program in their cafeterias, foodservice managers in Greece, New York elementary schools have successfully turned kitchen areas into classroom “nutrition labs” and are utilizing their expertise daily to help educate and empower students in making healthy choices.

In addition, Wendy develops new programs to enhance the educational component and provide hands-on education for students. For example, to celebrate National Nutrition Month, she sponsors an annual Chef’s Day in a local elementary school: on four Friday’s during the month of March, second graders write healthy snack recipes from a list of ingredients given to them by the cafeteria manager, make the snack, then serve it to the entire school during lunch. Over the years, the event has been a huge success. It is enjoyed not only by the chefs, but by all the students who eagerly await the tastings of these healthy choices!

Another recent initiative is to reward elementary school children for making 500 Healthy Choices in one week. The organization has engaged parents, food service managers and students in the initiative and have achieved 100 percent participation by all.

With a focus on reducing childhood obesity, improving overall health and enhancing the educational experience, the Healthy Highway program is on the front lines in shaping the health, education and well-being of young students and their families. Learn how kids at your school, afterschool program or community program can start heading down the Healthy Highway!