Children focus on health

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

Portales kindergarteners from Brown Early Childhood Center were on the march Thursday, complete with signs and chants — in support of juvenile diabetes research.

The school is completing a week-long focus on healthy choices, which has included lessons on eating right and exercising. The students also raised funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through a program called Dimes for Diabetes that had children collecting donations in a class competition.

They demonstrated the importance of exercise by marching around the block at the school, chanting “Eat Right, Exercise!”

“We’re emphasizing good health,” BECC principal Jackie Burns said. “I think good health starts in childhood. If we can start those habits out early, it’s very important.”

According to BECC music and fine arts coordinator Debra Hargrove, who organized the rally, the idea was spurred from a suggestion by parent Kacy Cash, who felt more emphasis needed to be placed on exercise and healthy eating. From there, programs were arranged with local high school students who came to the school during the week for physical education programs with the children and lessons in class.

“Diabetes is getting to be a really big issue with our young people,” Hargrove said.

According to the JDRF Web site, the organization was founded in 1970 and is the leading charitable funder of research into Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, strikes children suddenly, makes them dependent on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

Type 2 diabetes is more related to diet and exercise.

Students finish up their fundraising today. For more photos of the rally, see Sunday’s PNT.