It’s called the “Fruit and Vegetable Fun Challenge” and it’s designed to “encourage cultural awareness and consumption of fruits and vegetables.”<br>It’s a pilot program of the American Cancer Society and the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District, is funded by a grant from the society’s California division, and will introduce elementary school children to a variety of new fruits and vegetables in order to increase the number of fruits and vegetables children eat.<br>It will kick off at Grant Elementary School, 2368 Pearl Street in Santa Monica on Monday, January 23, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. assemblies. <br>At the 11:30 – 12:45 lunch break, free fruit smoothies will be served. <br>Hawaiian hula instruction will be offered in PE classes on Monday and Tuesday. <br>On Wednesday, the children will take the Farmers’ Market taste test challenge at lunch. Prizes will be awarded to everyone who try five of the ten samples. <br>On Thursday, a hot lunch will be served at the Farmers’ Market salad bar. <br>Similar activities will take place at Will Rogers and Juan Cabrillo elementary schools in March and and at Roosevelt Elementary School in May.<br>Obesity is the fastest growing health problem in this country, and the number of children in California who are overweight or obese is growing at an alarming rate, predisposing those children to such life-threatening illnesses as including cancer, heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes. About one third of all cancer deaths in this country are set off by nutrition and physical activity factors. <br>The American Cancer Society recommends that children and adults maintain a healthy weight by eating a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and limiting their intake of red meats, soda and fatty foods, and that children engage in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes, five days a week.
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