News and Events

2017-2018 Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids (CHECK) Plus! Program

With the end of the 2017-2018 school year, came the close of the Aetna Foundation funded CHECK (Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids) Plus! program.  The UTRGV COHA Border Health Office in partnership with the School of Nursing and the Donna ISD implemented an 18-month program aimed at empowering 4th grade students and their families to make healthy lifestyle choices.  CHECK provided nutrition lessons to the students and helped these students construct above-ground gardens at each of 14 elementary campuses. Upon completion of the nutrition education and raising of the above ground gardens, the CHECK Plus! program proceeded with the establishment of Nutrition Creation Stations. Adame Elementary
Healthy Foods Through the Aetna Foundation grant money, commercial blenders and salad carts were used to make healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies. The Nutrition Creation Stations allowed students to create and make their own smoothies using fresh fruits and vegetables, and in some cases, fruits and vegetables from their very own gardens.  On-site facilitators and teachers included an education piece to introduce the students to making healthy smoothies.  Students were also encouraged students to make smoothies at home for all the family to share and always with the consent of a parent and proper supervision at home.  As students tried different combinations, the most popular smoothie included kale and banana smoothie using either flavored (usually pineapple) or non-flavored drinkable yogurt. 
Kids Smoothies CHECK Plus! project directors Doreen Garza and David Salazar attended several of the smoothie-making activities and noticed that the young students enjoyed looking at the smoothie ingredients, the freshly sliced bananas and the green kale.  Students seemed intrigued and enthused by the idea of mixing all the ingredients into a drink.  Many of the students were surprised that something with kale in it could taste good. 
With the end of the school year came the end-of-the project community garden fruit and vegetable celebrations.  Each of the 14 campuses distributed over 1,100 fruit and vegetable bags to parents and the surrounding communities.  Salinas kids


Rio Grande Valley Childhood Obesity Seminar

Child Obesity Seminar On May 18th over 45 Rio Grande Valley school nurse nurses and school nurse administrators participated in a half-day seminar focusing on childhood obesity and the multivariate factors that influence obesity/overweight prevalence in children and adolescents.  Obesity in children and adolescents carries serious health and social consequences and has continued to be a concerning and costly epidemic for families, communities, schools, and health care providers. During the past 30 years, obesity rates doubled for adults and preschool children, while tripling among school-age children and adolescents.  
Dr. Otto Velasquez, Board Certified Pediatrician and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UTRGV and UTHSCSA spoke to the school nurses about the health consequences of overweight in children and the importance of early detection and early intervention.   Dr. Velasquez
Dr. Zamora-Flores Dr. Dora Zamora-Flores, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics UTHSCSA School of Medicine shared information about the G.O.A.L.  (Get rid of Overweight with Appropriate Life choices) program.  G.O.A.L. is a community-based program which includes a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals that work with children and adolescents and their families in helping them improve their lifestyles for better health.


Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids (CHECK) 2018

On March 22, 2018,  John F. Kennedy Elementary 4th grade students and their teachers hosted a Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids (CHECK) fruit and vegetable celebration to commemorate their participation in The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Border Health Office CHECK program funded by the Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation.  All parents and students were invited to view the new above ground garden at the campus.   Kids in the Garden
Over 100 bags filled with fruits and vegetables were distributed to local households.  In addition, parents and students were able to visit booths to learn about nutrition, dental hygiene,  and emergency services. Parents and students also enjoyed  quality time reading books published by the Arte Público Press, The Patchwork Garden “Pedacitos de Huerto” and Adelita and the Veggie Cousins “Adelita y las Primas Verduritas”.  Each 4th grade student received a complimentary copy of each book to take home. 
Kids Working Together Creating Healthy Eating Choices for Kids (CHECK) is a health promotion program developed by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) College of Health Affairs (COHA) Border Health Office (BHO) and UTRGV COHA School of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Program.
The CHECK program focuses on healthy nutrition for school-age children and their parents from communities in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of South Texas. The CHECK program delivers nutrition education lessons and engages graduate nursing students in facilitation of USDA’s “Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum”.
The program also helps participating schools raise above ground fruit and vegetable gardens to extend the students’ connection to the sources of their food and further empower them to incorporate healthy food choices into their lifestyles. Providing nutrition education for both students and families is an essential component in children and adolescent health promotion. UTRGV students