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Eating healthy is eating smart

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Repulse Bay (May 16/05) - Students at Tusarvik school in Repulse Bay are learning the benefits of making healthy choices with the foods they eat.

Student dietician April Hoover of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is spending six weeks in Repulse on a community placement.

Grade 5 students Nicholas Shimout and Scottie Mapsalak, right, were taking no egg prisoners during a recent healthy eating cooking class at Tusarvik school in Repulse Bay. - photo courtesy of Margaret Corbett

She's spending part of that time teaching Tusarvik students about healthy eating habits, including holding a number of popular cooking classes throughout the week.

Repulse is Hoover's final placement in a 10-month dietetic internship.

Her time on the Bay is a pilot project and joint venture of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Manitoba Northern Medical Unit, the Government of Nunavut and the Diabetes and Chronic Diseases Unit at Manitoba Health.

Hoover says one of the areas she's discussing with the students is the effects too much sugar can have on one's health, such as feeling sluggish, bad teeth and the weight gain that results from too many empty calories.

"We like to talk about more healthy choices, like water, milk or tea," says Hoover.

"I also spend a lot of time promoting country food, which is important during the younger years for good health and instills healthy habits the children can carry with them for the rest of their lives."

Hoover says healthy eating - like choosing more country foods and reducing high-fat, high-sugar choices such as chips, pop, chocolate and prepared frozen meals - play a big role in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

And, depending on the grade she's with, she may also discuss why protein, carbohydrates and fat are all important to good health.

Hoover has been quite impressed by the impact her message has had on the students and their enthusiasm towards the subject matter.

She says it's a pleasure to be so well-received by the community.

"I did an activity with the Grade 3 students on healthy breakfast place mats.

"They drew pictures of healthy breakfast foods and wrote the names on them. They really appreciated the importance of breakfast, and how they felt better throughout the day when they started off with a healthy breakfast.

"All of the students have been very enthusiastic, especially in the cooking classes."