A trifecta of health activities

October 20, 2015

Culinary Competition

Photo by Nancy Farrar

By Alex Branch

China Tarvin wants the children she mentors at I.M. Terrell Elementary School to live healthy lives, and they found plenty of motivation at UNT Health Science Center.

The children spent one recent morning having their blood pressure and body mass measured, getting a lesson on sunscreen and working up a lather spinning Hula Hoops with Health Science Center students on the campus lawn.

The events were part of an extraordinary trifecta of health and nutritional activities — the 6th Annual Cowtown C.A.L.F Run, the FitWorth Fuel Cook-off and the DO Dash 5K and Fun Run — attended by more than 1,000 children and adults on Oct. 10 at UNTHSC and Will Rogers Memorial Center.

“It’s so important for these kids to learn about their bodies,” said Tarvin, who works with Love Never Fails, an afterschool nonprofit. “The Health Science Center students make it so much fun, all while teaching the kids healthy habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.”

The event continued a long tradition of the Health Science Center promoting community health. Akanksha Verma, a first-year Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine student, offered free glucose tests and discovered elevated levels in the first woman she tested.

“She said she would go to the doctor first thing Monday and get it checked out,” Verma said. “This is a great way to help bring potential health problems to people’s attention before it becomes a bigger problem. It’s proactive.”

Nearby, 17 teams of culinary arts students from five high schools competed in the FitWorth Fuel Cook-off. The scent of whole-grain pancakes, Portabella mushrooms stuffed with lentils and quinoa crepes filled the air as students vied for “Healthiest Breakfast,” “Healthiest Entrée” and “Heathiest Snacks.”

The high school students said their culinary arts programs and the FitWorth competition have not only taught them how to better cook and present food, but changed the way they — and their families — eat.

“I didn’t used to be a healthy person,” said Keyana Brevard, a senior at O.D. Wyatt High School. “We used to eat fried chicken at home and now I’m making sautéed chicken for my mom and brothers and sisters. I tell them it’s time to try something new — and they love it!”

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