Health fair
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 24, 2014) -- Army Public Health Nursing partnered with C.C. Pinckney Elementary School officials to sponsor a mini health fair Monday in the school's gymnasium.

Third and fourth graders spent three hours receiving information about nutrition, DNA composition and exercise in order to better inform them on how to live healthier lifestyles.

"We hope the children will learn lifetime healthy habits when it comes to nutrition health," said Allison Plyler, registered nurse at C.C. Pinckney.

Obesity was one major topic of discussion.

"Obesity is such a huge problem in our society," said Vicky Derderian, a registered nurse for MACH Public Health Nursing. "We want the students to understand the issue and remain health conscious throughout their lives."

Derderian said that 30 percent of children don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, which is one reason why nutrition education is important.

Exercise is another key in maintaining good health, Plyler said.

"The children also need to understand the importance of exercising along with eating well," Plyler said. "Activities as simple as walking and playing outside can do wonders for children and they need to know this."

Also present at the fair was a certified yoga instructor.

"Our kids today are under a lot of stress - for different reasons," Derderian said. "Yoga is geared toward techniques for relaxing. And it is a good way to help the children find different ways to relax. ... Yoga is also a creative and fun way to strengthen their muscles."

This year's event feature representatives from EdVenture Children's Museum explaining how DNA affects the body's genetic makeup.

"DNA is just fun," Derderian said. "Looking at not just the color of your eyes or the shape of your ears, but the entire makeup of our bodies is amazing. This type of awareness is important. And the children appear excited to be learning such information."

The representatives also helped the children make DNA bracelets to take home. Something, Plyler said, the children were thrilled about.

"They all seem so enthusiastic about this fair and the material presented," Plyler said. "Hopefully they will take something away from here that could share with their parents."

The health fair is held annually, and the organizers choose different categories to present to the students each year.