MADISON (WKOW) -- Some junior high school students at St. James School in Madison are taking on a healthy eating challenge. They're trying to eat 1,000 pieces of fruit in 30 days, but only during their morning snack break at school.
Science teacher Mark Helscher and his students investigated the causes of widespread childhood obesity and discovered making simple substitutes, like giving up a bag of chips for an apple, can have long-term effects. "Eating fruit during the school day helps students stay focused while also controlling body weight," said Helscher.
Helscher and another teacher, Tim Tynan, decided to provide free fruit to any student willing to give up a junk food snack. "We are not reinventing the wheel here," said Tynan. "Schools around the world are finding success in programs that offer free fruit to kids. After just a couple weeks, we are already seeing positive results."
Both teachers said their students are now craving fruits more. "Every day, more students are bringing in their own fruit. They want to show off their smart choices," said Helscher.
The 1,000 Fruit Challenge is a pilot program in the junior high grades at St. James School, but the teachers hope it spreads to the rest of the school permanently.