April 12, 2006 | By: Laura Skillman

Ohio County fifth-graders recently took a stroll through the human body for a hands-on learning experience about human health and nutrition.

The Body Walk was brought to the schoolchildren by the Ohio County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and is the first of its kind in Kentucky. Gary Druin, Ohio County 4-H youth development agent, said the concept was developed by Kansas State University.

Druin said about four years ago his office began doing horticulture judging, vegetable identification and Vegetable Derby in the schools as a way to introduce students to vegetables. Teachers asked them to expand on their efforts, so the Body Walk was added this year. It has 16 stations starting at the brain then entering the mouth and coming out through the skin.

 “So many of our kids are flunking what they are eating,” he said. “They aren’t getting the fruit and vegetables they need every day. Less than 20 percent of schoolchildren are getting the vegetable portions they need every day and about 15 percent on fruit. We live in a fast-paced society. We’re constantly eating fast food. We’re not getting the proper nutrition. We want to get them started at an early age thinking about what they are eating and maybe going home and telling their parents about what they are eating.”

The event required lots of teamwork with about 50 people helping out, including the entire Extension staff, community members and Extension volunteers.

Ohio County Superintendent Soretta Ralph said the activities Extension brings to the schools are excellent.

“They always include the core content, involve the children and involve the community members,” she said.

Students participating in the walk found different aspects that piqued their interests.

“I’ve seen different parts of the body, and the best thing I’ve seen is the muscles and what to eat to get your muscles bigger,” said a student at Beaver Dam Elementary, which played host for the event.

“We went through the body system and then we learn a bunch about food and what we need to make our bodies strong,” said a student at Wayland Alexander Elementary. “My favorite part was on fast foods and how they make you fat if you eat too much.”

Druin said the body walk will be an annual offering for elementary students, and there has been some interest from the middle school as well. He said it might be offered twice a year in the future.



Gary Druin, (270) 298-7441