From: ENN
Published July 19, 2005 12:00 AM

Software Teaches Students to Select Healthier Food Choices

ATLANTA — Horizon Software International, a provider of software, services and technologies for food service operations, announces today HealthSmart(TM), a comprehensive nutrition and activity curriculum to help students learn the skills they need to fight obesity.


"Horizon has recognized that in addition to helping school districts provide effective school feeding programs for students with their software solutions, we also have the ability and obligation to be a partner in educating students about healthy nutrition choices," says Linda R. Stoll, MPH, SFNS, Director of Child Obesity Prevention for Horizon Software.


Designed to be student-driven, HealthSmart requires minimum classroom time from teachers. The curriculum provides teachers with background information, lesson plans, classroom discussions and student activities and worksheets on CD's. Students are able to continue learning during free-time, in computer labs or on home computers.


Students use interactive CDs as their resource for learning. "Good Food and Play Make a Balanced Day" is for students ages 7 - 12; "Good Food and Play, Junior" is for students ages 4 - 7. Both CDs include a Spanish version. HealthSmart provides a separate program for each grade, K - 12. HealthSmart presents current nutrition and activity information in a fun format that uses videos, games and quizzes to reinforce learning.


HealthSmart pilot tests of the new curriculum were conducted in schools across the country earlier this year. The pilots began with pre-testing students for nutrition skills. After participating in the three week HealthSmart curriculum course, students showed an average increase of 30 percentage points in their post-test scores.


"I was able to see an increase in testing after the HealthSmart curriculum from 42 percent to 89 percent," says Beth Rutland, kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Oak Grove Lower Elementary in the Lamar County School District in Lamar, MS. "My students truly enjoyed this unit of study. They especially enjoyed the student CD and the healthy snacks."


The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act requires school districts to create a "Local Wellness Policy." Based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Education Standards, HealthSmart incorporates standards from all 50 states.


HealthSmart has been reviewed by the Nutrition Committee of the School Nutrition Association, as well as by Dr. Yvonne Bronner, an expert in nutrition and health and appointed by the United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Child Nutrition Foundation (part of the SNA) has partnered with Horizon Software to promote HealthSmart to its 55,000 members across the country.


"We are very excited about the new HealthSmart program," says Barbara Belmont, Executive Director of the School Nutrition Association and the Child Nutrition Foundation. "Classroom-based nutrition education plays a critical role in developing healthy eating habits for our children."


Teacher CDs are $49 per classroom; student resource CDs are $ 2 per student and student workbooks are $4.95 per student. "With HealthSmart, every child in America can be educated about the roles proper nutrition choices and activity play in preventing child obesity," says Bob Williamson, Chairman and CEO of Horizon Software. "The costs of HealthSmart are a minute fraction when compared to costs for medical expenses attributed to obesity ($117 billion direct and indirect costs)."


About Horizon Software International, LLC: Founded in 1992, Horizon Software International, LLC provides software, services and technologies for food service operations. For more information, visit www.horizon-boss.com.


Source: Business Wire


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