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We Can! Is One Hot Potato in Boise, Idaho

February 4, 2009

Over a year ago, on January 15, 2008, Nancy Rush, R.D., We Can!™ community site leader and Community Health Promotion Manager for Idaho’s Central District Health Department, kicked off her first set of classes based on We Can!

She specifically targeted Boise’s childcare providers because they require continuing education to remain certified. They’re also a great channel for spreading the word about keeping kids at a healthy weight through better nutrition, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time.

“My daughter has two children in childcare, and she mentioned that in the morning when she drops them off the TV is already on and it’s still on when she picks them up,” said Rush. “It got me thinking about educating childcare providers on the importance of limiting screen time and other ways to help keep our community’s kids healthy.”

Rush took the We Can! Parent Program and tailored the curriculum to fit the 30+ participants’ needs, offering a two-night seminar, two hours each night in exchange for two credits. Nutrition was the focus one night, and physical activity the other. Portion distortion and how to exercise in confined spaces were exceedingly popular topics.

So was learning how to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI). This interest was likely triggered by news of a statewide study of the BMI of some 3,000 third graders. The study’s findings revealed that 13% of them are overweight or obese.

Overall, the classes were so successful that Rush did a second training 10 months later. But that’s not all.

“One of the best We Can!-related efforts was our work with Anser Charter School to develop a magazine,” said Rush.

Cover of the Anser magazine, entitled "Idaho Fit Kids = Happy Kids"

The magazine not only draws from We Can! messaging and handouts like U R What U Eat, but also has student-authored pieces about deciphering media messaging about food, choosing nutritious foods, and fun recipes. To see the magazine, visit, click on the community education/education/obesity prevention tab, and look for the Idaho Fit Kids=Healthy Kids PDF.

We Can! messaging and materials are also being woven into other nutrition and physical-activity oriented events hosted by the Health Department and its partners throughout Boise and its county.

Rush plans to build on this momentum to power We Can!-related activities in 2009.

We Can! and the We Can! logo are trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

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