SAN DIEGO–Dozens of high school students today learned how to eat healthy at home and “on-the-run” during the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s (HHSA) Healthy Counties Month event.
The students also learned about the benefits of physical activity and the consequences of unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking and other drug use.
“Healthy eating and exercise are great ways to prevent disease,” Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., County Deputy Public Health Officer, said to the nearly 60 students from Crawford High Ed Complex, The Rock Academy, and the County’s San Pasqual Academy. “I hope you are inspired to go home and make some changes that will make you healthier,” Sidelinger added.
The students also attended a presentation from the County’s Medical Examiner (ME) to learn what the ME does and how unhealthy behaviors can result in untimely death. They also toured the County’s Public Health Lab and learned about disease detection and the vital role the lab plays in protecting the public’s health.
The activities were designed to teach students about the concept of 3-Four-50; three behaviors—tobacco use, poor diet, and lack of physical activity—contribute to four chronic diseases—heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Lung Disease and Cancers—which are responsible for more than 50 percent of deaths.
In San Diego County, it is estimated that about 30 percent of 5th, 7th, and 9th graders are overweight or obese.
Another objective of the half-day event was to expose students to career opportunities in the health arena. “The health industry is one of the fastest growing fields,” HHSA Director Nick Macchione told the group. “A career in public service, especially public health, is a great choice.”
Some of the students attending the event have already indicated an interest in pursuing a health career.
“I want to be a physician,” said Mario Ramirez, a freshman at Crawford High School. “I came because I wanted to find out what other health careers are available.”