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Chula Vista Schools Share How To Reduce Waist Sizes Of A Student Body

Students at Kellogg Elementary School stretch before the schools first annual...

Photo by Kyla Calvert

Above: Students at Kellogg Elementary School stretch before the schools first annual year-end fitness fair in Chula Vista, May 26, 2011.

CHULA VISTA — When Chula Vista Elementary schools measured the height and weight of all their students in 2010 they found high rates of obesity. The district has slimmed down since then and is sharing the tools they used to do it.

Chula Vista Elementary schools are sharing the steps they took to help students adopt healthier lifestyles.

After that first districtwide height and weight survey, schools in Chula Vista cut chocolate milk from lunch menus, added gym time and taught parents about healthy habits for the whole family. Two years later, another survey found 5 percent fewer students were overweight or obese.

Sharon Hillidge, a resource teacher with the district who led the policy overhaul, said having student data to drive changes to the Chula Vista Elementary School Districts's health and wellness policies let schools see what age groups needed the most intervention. It also helped get parent buy-in.

“Now you have a reason why you’re doing it," she said. "It’s not an arbitrary change that somebody decides they don’t like chocolate milk. It’s based on knowing that, OK — this is what our kids look like.”

All the tools the district used to do the height and weight surveys and communicate with parents are now available to any school leaders. Starting this week the toolkit is available to the public through San Diego County's Live Well website.

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