REGION – Weathersfield School in Weathersfield, Vt. and The Children’s Place Preschool in Windsor, Vt. are the latest in Windsor County to achieve Gold-level status in the Vermont Department of Health’s 3-4-50 campaign. The 3-4-50 program highlights how three behaviors, physical inactivity, poor diet, and tobacco use, lead to four chronic diseases, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and lung disease, which result in more than 50% of the deaths in Vermont.
The Windsor Early Childcare Education Center achieved Gold-level status in 2020, joining the town of Windsor and Trinity Free Evangelical Church who both achieved Gold-level status in 2019, along with Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Care Center, which has held Gold-level status since 2017. Achieving Gold-level status demonstrates that an institution has a genuine commitment to promoting health and wellness and reducing chronic disease.
Jen Tucker of The Children’s Place Preschool stated, “We are very honored to receive this achievement. Our staff and children have taken little steps towards the big achievements.”
JeanMarie Oakman, principal of the Weathersfield School, notes, “We are very honored to receive this status and are very proud of the staff and students for making healthy choices a way of life.”
The 3-4-50 Program has three commitment levels – bronze, silver, and gold – based on the number and scale of the wellness measures implemented. In order to achieve Gold status, the Weathersfield School incorporated many healthy activities into its program, including, but not limited to: Let’s Get Active challenges; numerous water bottle filling stations around school; participation in Way to Go, VT, to lower the carbon footprint by promoting walking or riding a bike; offer 30 minutes every day for recess, even during this pandemic and the abbreviated school day; and a strong relationship with Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership and Rise VT Windsor County. “These groups supply us with grants and information on the dangers on all types of tobacco use and grants to purchase extra recess equipment,” explains JeanMarie Oakman.
The Children’s Place Preschool demonstrated how they are exceeding both in nutrition and physical activity standards with some examples including: a school garden project; introducing efforts around tobacco cessation curriculum for parents; create policies that support nutrition, physical activity, and quit tobacco support; eliminate sugary drinks and juices and offer water all day; create and maintain a children’s vegetable garden as a teaching tool and to supply vegetables for snacks and meals.
To learn more about the 3-4-50 program, contact Jackie Lindamood, public health nutritionist at the Vermont Dept. of Health, at Jackie.Lindamood@vermont.gov or 802-289-0546.