On November 7, 2012, The American Heart Association, in collaboration with D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh of Ward 3, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5, the D.C. Department of Health and D.C. Public Schools celebrated National Eating Healthy Day at McKinley Technical High School. AHA Executive Board member and YTC Advocate Sean Ballington, started the program to talk about AHA’s commitment to healthy programs and policies that provide resources for individuals wanting to make healthier choices.
Councilmembers Cheh and McDuffie encouraged over 120 students and faculty to live healthier lifestyles to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes! Cheh challenged McKinley High School to start a community garden at their school and helped them recognize the importance of including fruits and vegetables in their diets.
Principal David Pinder of Mckinley High School testified to his students that now is the time to start healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. He warned them that it will be harder to change old habits than to start new habits of eating healthy while you are still young. He drew from his own experience as he explained growing up with his parents owning a fried chicken restaurant and how hard it was for him to change his eating habits once he realized that it was slowly and silently killing him.
This celebration of National Eating Healthy Day was a great opportunity for students of the D.C. community to learn about the importance of eating healthy while having fun. They were able to learn about some of the programs the American Heart Association offers to promote healthy eating such as Simple Cooking with Heart. The event also provided an opportunity for organizations in the community who are committed to building healthier lives to come together and celebrate this national day of healthy eating. Part of the event included a cooking demonstration by celebrity Chef Cynthia of the American Heart Association. She taught students that it is possible to cook healthy food in their own kitchens that is both simple and cheap. On the menu were curry chicken and black bean salads for the students to sample. Many were surprised that something so healthy and made quickly could be so tasty!
The American Heart Association promotes policy change that helps provide Americans healthier choices in schools and communities.
Chef Cynthia explaining the healthy menu choices to the audience ^