Thursday, September 13, 2018

OSCAR Student Jocelin Diaz Works with Elementary School-aged Children in Fairfax to Create Nutrition-education Tools

Hello everyone! My name is Jocelin Diaz and I am a Communications student who is minoring in Public Health and on the Pre-Medicine track. My Summer Impact project is working with elementary school-aged children in Fairfax to create nutrition-education tools. I became interested in CONNECT (Community-Supported Development of Nutrition Tools) because it aligns with my interest in pediatrics. CONNECT is researching methods that can change the behavior of elementary school children. We want students to have the knowledge and skills that will allow them to make healthy food choices. Specifically, our research wants students to reach for vegetables, fruits, and water, instead of reaching for heavily processed foods, sweets, and sugary drinks. 

CONNECT aligns with my long-term goals because as a pediatrician, I want to be able to advise parents and children on how to make healthier food choices. My main interest is ensuring that low-income parents and students are making the healthy choices to decrease their chances of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This program has given me new tools with which I can proceed to help low-income students live healthier lives. It has allowed me to understand the process of shopping healthy while remaining on a budget. This is important because of the misconception that healthier foods are more expensive.

This term has also allowed me to understand the methods used in education to ensure that students retain the information given to them. On a weekly basis, we plan lessons, come up with recipes and create assessment tools. Creating lesson plans for the ages of eight and 11 requires understanding the different developmental stages of the students we would be working with. With the information that CONNECT gathers this term, we hope to find methods that allow students to make the healthy-eating choices that will allow them to continue developing, both mentally and physically.