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Duke Camp Helps Kids Learn Ways To Live Healthy Lives

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DURHAM, N.C. — Nearly one in five children in the United States are overweight. That's why Duke health educators decided to start a special camp to teach 10-to 13-year-olds not just how to eat healthy, but how to cook healthy meals.

The Teer House Community Education houses the Kids Cooking, Fitness and Fun Day Camp. This past week was the camp's first event.

Pediatric physical therapists lead the children in walking or running laps around the shady grounds of the property near Durham Regional Hospital. The campers learned how to count their pulse and measure their fitness levels.

The rest of the time was spent indoors whipping up healthy dishes with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Instructors preach "5 a day, the color way."

"Trying to get your five fruits and vegetables in a day, looking at all the different colors," said Joyce Price, Duke registered dietician and camp director.

Volunteer Jane Forehand rolled a color-loaded dice to challenge the campers to think of different vegetable or fruit dishes to go with a meal.

Jesse Melton, 10, said he's learned a lot at the camp.

"That you can eat healthy and that you can substitute sugar for Splenda and that it can still taste really good," said Melton.

The last day of camp is for the campers' family to enjoy the fruits of their labor at a special lunch.

"We have a rainbow bean salad today that they prepared, and they did all the chopping of all the fruits and vegetables yesterday," said Price.

There was also a chicken-fruit salad, melon balls and a spinach and tomato salad.

Some parents say their children are now eating things they might never have tried at home.

"Oh yes. I think she'll be more open to trying different healthier foods, which the kids need these days," said Shirley Harris about her daughter, Sydney.