TRUMAN - Miss Minnesota Siri Freeh visited Truman Public Schools Tuesday, bringing a message to the students about healthy eating and physical activity.
Freeh encouraged the students to make sure their hearts stay healthy by eating fruits and vegetables and being active. She then them in a monster-themed dance on the stage.
Freeh is a nursing student at the University of Minnesota and plans to pursue a doctorate in cardiovascular research.
Miss Minnesota Siri Freeh visits with preschoolers at Truman Public School during a tour Tuesday. The students were mesmerized by her crown.
She told the students her dad was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, and she now speaks out in support of heart disease prevention and serves as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association of Minnesota.
Her visit to Truman helped launch the school's Statewide Health Improvement Program efforts.
Truman is the latest in a series of schools in the five-county area served by SHIP to prioritize healthy eating and activity.
Ways they are doing that include implementing one minute of physical activity into each hour of class work, running a safe routes to school program, and encouraging farm-to-cafeteria programs in the area.
The work is being funded by a $10,000 SHIP grant, and many of the themes are simple to incorporate.
"There are so many no-brainers in this," said Bill Burleson, with the Minnesota Department of Health. "But if it was easy, they would already be doing this."
According to Chera Sevcik, SHIP Supervisor, the grant dollars can be used to purchase things like curriculum, nutrition programs and teacher training.
Truman principal Tate Jerome said one way the school is looking to increase healthy eating is to implement healthy food vending machines.
"This school has gotten rid of the vending machines," he said, noting the only place the kids can eat is the cafeteria at lunchtime.
Jerome believes students who are hungry will take advantage of healthy food if it there aren't junk food options available to them.
SHIP is interested in making sure policy changes occur in the schools they work with, so if funding runs out, the changes will stick.
Burleson said the Department of Health is looking at ways to change infrastructure so individuals can make healthy choices.
"If there is a good bike path, people will ride their bikes," he said. "If you have access to fruits and veggies, people will eat more fruits and veggies."
Burleson said the research into how movement affects learning is clear, the more kids move, the better they learn.
Freeh's school visit was in conjunction with her appearance at the Healthy Communities Forum the same night at the Fairmont Holiday Inn.