By Spc. Joshua LeonardOctober 2, 2012
HEIDELBERG, Germany (Oct. 2, 2012) -- Children of members of the U.S. Army in Europe community are getting more chances to learn the benefits of eating right and exercising regularly, thanks to the expansion of USAREUR's "Fueling the Future" campaign.
Events in the Heidelberg and Wiesbaden military communities marked the next steps forward for the program that began here this summer.
The first of those steps was taken at at Heidelberg's Patrick Henry Village Child Development Center Sept. 26, where children and teachers joined in a short dance session led by Nicole Leth, a public health volunteer and one of the leaders of the fueling program.
The group then took a short walk to the garrison commissary, where the children gathered for a reading of, "The Belly Book," which focuses on the importance of getting in the habit of maintaining a healthy diet at a young age. Following the reading the youngsters toured the store, snacking on fruit as they discussed healthy food options and nutrition.
"Our efforts are now expanding to all age groups," said Leth. "It is important that even from a young age (that) children receive this message of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity."
"We want the children to take this message home to their families and ask questions when they are shopping at the grocery store or out to eat with their families," she added. "We want the message of "Fueling the Future" to reach every military child."
The program continued and expanded Oct. 1, when students at the Patrick Henry Elementary School here and the Wiesbaden Middle School got involved in more "Fueling the Future" events.
At the elementary school, youngsters joined in a routine of kicks, punches and other movements designed to demonstrate how to have fun while exercising. The students also shared in discussions about activities they enjoy that are also good ways to get exercise and learned how to incorporate exercise into other activities.
USAREUR deputy commander Maj. Gen. James Boozer led events kicking off the fueling campaign at the Wiesbaden Middle School, where he was greeted by principal Susan Hargis and the announcement that the school had designated Oct. 1 as "Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer Day." Hargis presented the general with a school sweatshirt and a plaque commemorating the honor.
Boozer talked with the students about the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regimen and why they are key components for a healthy lifestyle. The students and the general then took to the school's newly constructed running track to walk or run together. Boozer happily handed out high-fives as the children rounded the corner of the track.