Written by guest blogger Emilie Swenson
“Quien le gustaba el museo hoy?” (Who liked the museum today?) I asked in the van on the way back to Fair Haven. Of my six passengers, everyone raised their hands! Participants from the Diabetes Prevention and Bright Bodies programs took a field trip last Tuesday, April 17th, to the Big Food exhibit at the Peabody Museum. Tickets were generously donated by the Peabody Museum for the free entry of 38 patients and five program facilitators. The exhibit explores culture and eating, and focuses on many of the issues that participants learn about through the healthy lifestyle programs they attend through the Fair Haven Community Health Center. The groups walked through the exhibit with Elizabeth Magenheimer, APRN CNM CDE, who used the exhibit to solidify many of the concepts about healthy eating she teaches in the weekly lifestyle program curriculum. Participants balked at the amount of food one person consumes in a year—eight whole pizzas, many liters of soda, gallons and gallons of milk, and stacks of boxes full of vegetables. They took examined nutrition facts and compared snacks, learning more about which snacks are good to eat (given a green light in the exhibit), and those to stay away from (red light)!
One of the main topics that is discussed during the education portion of these programs is how to look for healthy foods, how to make healthier choices, how to understand portion sizes, and how to be active. This exhibit combined many of these things in interactive ways. As we walked through, we talked about beverages—looking at the many teaspoons of sugar contained in different beverages—from Coke to Iced Tea to Capri Sun, realizing that water really is the best option! We also saw how portion sizes have changed throughout the years; many foods like bagels have doubled in size over the past 20 years! There was a display of a reclining youth, laying in bed, one hand in a bag of chips, and a can of soda beside his bed, remote in hand, TV on. We talked about what was unhealthy about his behavior, and how we can all make changes. No Chips, No Soda, and No TV, were all ideas mentioned by the children.
By far the biggest hit of the exhibit was the stationary bike that powered a light – the harder you peddled, the higher up on the wall the light went. The kids and parents (and even nurse practitioner) tried their hand (or legs) at this activity while a crowd of onlookers cheered them on. It was a great adventure to visit the Big Food exhibit in the museum and reinforce the concepts they are learning in their healthy lifestyle programs. Thank you to the Peabody Museum for hosting us!