U.S. deputy health secretary to visit Glencliff high school

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 3:18pm

Just weeks after Davidson County was awarded a $7.5 million federal stimulus grant to fight obesity, the public health department is ramping up it efforts to bring fresh foods to more people across the county.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services William Corr will visit Nashville on Friday to see first-hand some of the programs already under way.

Corr is scheduled to visit Glencliff High School, where he will talk to culinary arts students about their future in the food business.

“The idea is to encourage these students, ‘as you grow your craft, design menus that incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables and are healthy,’ ” said Brian Todd, spokesperson for the Metro Health Department.

Glencliff was chosen because the school has a community garden that provides fresh foods used in the cafeteria.

“The students actually get to eat the foods that they grow,” he said. “This is a model of what we’d like to see in other areas.”

Todd said getting more healthy foods in schools is one focus the department will target with the federal grant.

Corr’s visit coincides with the celebration of National Public Health Week, April 5-11, 2010.

This year’s theme for the health observance is “A Healthier America: One Community at a Time.” It’s aimed at motivating people to improve their personal health and share that commitment with others in their communities and across the nation.

On Saturday, April 10, the Metro Health Department, in conjunction with several other agencies, will sponsor “Healthy Children, Healthy Nashville.”

The two-hour event is designed to help children and families become more active and, ultimately, healthier. It includes cooking demonstrations to show parents how to cook using fresh ingredients and with less salt and fat.

“The demonstrations will show how to make meals that are healthy and tasty,” Todd said.

One sure-fire way to get kids involved — free ice skating and swimming at Centennial Sportsplex.

“It’s a fun way to get exercise,” Todd said. “The flowers and trees are blooming, and we hope the weather will cooperate to make it just a fun day to get outside and be active.”

National Public Health Week is sponsored by the American Public Health Association and seeks to educate the public, policy makers and public health professionals about the importance of public health agencies in preventing disease and promoting good health.

This is the 15th year communities across the country have formally recognized the contributions of public health and highlighted issues that are important to improving the nation’s health.