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Smarter Lunchrooms helps kids make more nutritious choices

An intervention in Marshall County hopes to help young students make better dietary choices.

West Virginia University is using student athletes and experts in the nutrition field to help kids stay healthy by making better food choices. The goal is get West Virginia off many of the black lists for health problems.

“It's okay if you eat fast food, but not all the time,” said Owen Geho.

Owen, a first-grader, knows the basics about nutrition, but he’s learning more in a new program called Smarter Lunchrooms.

“We go in to all the schools statewide and complete a scorecard or pre-assessment of the lunchrooms and it's how you can make small nudges towards healthier behavior,” said Mollie Poffenbarger, nutrition outreach instructor, WVU extension. “Something like putting the white milk in front of the chocolate milk.”

“Because we are always in the top three for being the most overweight obese state and it's not a reputation we want to keep,” said Carol Morgan, nutrition outreach instructor.

So nutrition experts are working to help make students make healthier choices. Representatives with the WVU extension service visited McNinch Primary on Friday to distribute posters featuring several Mountaineer athletes.

First graders at the school say it works.

“Because they are great players,” Owen said.

A grant is helping to pay for the Smarter Lunchroom project throughout the state.

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