Members of the educational acting company, Food Play, talked with Londonderry Middle Schoolers about body image, exercising and healthy eating. Here, they brought out an oversized Barbie doll to show how the doll's proportions are not a realistic goal for girls to live up to.

LONDONDERRY — The Londonderry School District has taken steps to tackle the problem of childhood obesity, and the middle school was applauded for its efforts by representatives from the Foundation for Healthy Communities and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on Wednesday during a sixth-grade assembly.

"The entire district has been making positive changes," said Beth Wheeler, community health coordinator for the foundation. "But the middle school has brought the "5-2-1-0" program to new heights."

The "5-2-1-0" program, introduced last year by the Foundation, recommends eating five fruit and vegetable servings a day, cutting screen time — TV and computer — to two hours or less, participating in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity, and restricting sugar-sweetened drinks.

"The district has a wellness committee with staff from the elementary and middle schools, doctors from the Elliot Hospital and Londonderry Pediatrics, and Peggy Connors (a registered dietitian from Parkland Medical Center)," Wheeler said.

"It's important for the pediatricians to also be on board with the program."

She told the students to ask their doctors about "5-2-1-0" when they went for an appointment.

Wheeler said she was impressed by the middle school's initiative of photographing kids when they were "caught" doing something healthy like eating a nutritious snack or exercising.

During the assembly, four students were recognized for winning a contest for writing healthy jingles. The winners were Andrew Vivian, Marc Lussier, Omer Klaen, and Grant Peters.

The students were treated to a show by Food Play courtesy of Anthem.

Food Play is an Emmy Award-winning nutrition media company that brings live theater to schools to turn kids on to healthy eating and exercise habits.

The skit included a giant Barbie doll to teach the lesson of unrealistic body image and warned of anorexia and bulemia.

They actors also talked about unrealistic male images, too, such as action hero figures.

They also entertained with a "veggie" rap song and other hilarious skits that brought important messages.

During the day, staff and students from the three elementary schools and the middle school participated in healthy walks

"This whole school district has been wonderful to work with," Wheeler said.

"You're tops," she told the students at the assembly.

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