In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

November 4, 2014

Elementary Principles of Healthy Living

By In the Loop

Large group of children on a playgroundOn most days, when doctors dispense healthy living advice, they’re likely greeted with a nod or some version of, “You’re right, I should do that.” It’s probably not often that they’re treated to a thank-you video and healthy living chant. But then most of us don’t have the enthusiasm of Ms. Nyema’s second grade class at La Pluma Elementary School in La Mirada, California. It seems the students had the pleasure of a visit from Mayo pediatrician Phil Fischer, M.D., who recently stopped by while vacationing in the area.

Dr. Fischer tells us he brought a simple message to the classroom: “Choose to be healthy, and act on those choices in tangible ways.” In the video the visit inspired, the students told the good doctor what tangible things they were now going to do. Things like, “I will eat all my vegetables,” and “I will play and exercise a lot.” Not to mention, “I will get all my shots,” I will wash my hands,” and “I will get a good night’s sleep.” One student noted that he’s “going to be a scientist” when he grows up, and one still apparently undecided on a career path asked, “How is it being a doctor, good or bad?” And then there was the student who said, “If I grow up and live at Minnesota, and if I have a family, and if I have children, and if one of them gets sick, I'll take them to Mayo Clinic.” (We like the way he thinks.)

Dr. Fischer enjoys sharing doctorly advice with kids, so Ms. Nyema wouldn’t have had much trouble persuading him to visit her class, even if she weren’t his sister. “As a pediatrician, I believe in the education of children,” Dr. Fischer says. “Traveling in the U.S. and abroad, I am interested in visiting schools and seeing how education takes place.” In Ms. Nyema’s classroom, “things gelled nicely,” he says. “The kids really got into the interactive discussion and loved the rhyme we made up together to summarize the teaching points.” You’ll likely recognize a few themes in that rhyme:

Eat good food to keep your body strong.
Get a good night’s sleep, so you last all day long.
Study hard to learn to keep your brain smart.
And get all your shots, so sickness will not start.
Always wash your hands to keep the germs away.
And spend time with friends as you exercise and play.

“Children are society’s future, and it is great fun to see such encouraging examples of the next generation getting into good learning and wise living,” Dr. Fischer says. Class dismissed.

You can watch the students' video below. Then take part in a little show and tell by sharing your comments below and sharing this story with others using the Social Media tools above.

Tags: Community, Dr. Phil Fischer, pediatrics

Thank you for visiting Ms. Nyema’s class. I loved reading about your visit and interaction with our students. You can tell by the video and letters that our students really took your visit to heart! Thank you to Ms. Nyema for opening up her classroom in an effort to teach her students about healthy choices and actions. This was a great piece to spread your message!

Mrs. Pace

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