School opens garden to teach healthy living - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School opens garden to teach healthy living

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The American Heart Association joined up with Phoebe hospital and Dougherty County Schools to promote healthy living through an educational program.

Lincoln Elementary Magnet school will now grow dozens of garden varieties ranging from broccoli to onions, and even mint in its new "Teaching garden."

"Prevention is the best way to have good health. It's also the least expensive," said Joel Wernick, President & CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System.  "And from that perspective, we can start having people engage in healthy activities, and at a young age they'll carry those things forward,"

Studies have shown that nearly one in three American children is overweight or obese. Diets full of processed foods with little to no nutritional value have led to what some call modern day malnutrition.

Albany native and baseball great Ray Knight spread the message of healthy eating at the event. Knight is the Co-Chair of the American Heart Association, and learned the importance of eating right after he underwent a triple bi-pass surgery.

"But his is just awesome to have these young kids start at an early age with something that's a project, something they enjoy doing that they're enthusiastic about, that they can learn." "And that's why it's called the teaching garden," said Knight.

Students got their hands a little dirty, with buckets of dirt and gardening tools. 

"We wanted to make sure that every kid had a chance to touch a shovel and see the importance of putting in and getting out," said Henry Mathis, one of the Volunteers. 

Studies have also shown that healthier kids also perform better in school, which has the elementary staff and students excited for the future.

To contribute to Lincoln Elementary, call (229)431-1216.  For more information about the teaching garden program, visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens

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