Resolving to Improve Wellness in New Canaan

Since many of us make resolutions to be healthy in the New Year, I thought it would be a good time to share what the public school district is doing to support wellness.  (For further information, please watch the local print and online newspapers this week and next and write or post comments to demonstrate your interest.)

Wellness and the New Canaan Public School District
While daily physical fitness requirements cannot be fulfilled through physical education classes alone (students have gym two to three times weekly), the goal, according to director of athletics and wellness Jay Egan, is to "promote a physically active lifestyle."  By teaching students to carve out time for exercise and make nutritious meal and snack choices, he and his staff support families in building the foundation for a lifetime of wellness.  To that end, Fitnessgram performance records, which define health vs. skill-related fitness by measuring aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility will be sent home in mid-January.  The message is that not all children will become elite athletes, but all children can enjoy the benefits of a physically active lifestyle.  In addition, a wellness area is being added to the public school district's website, and links to updates will be included in all public schools' online newsletters.  

As I have mentioned previously, director of food services Bruce Gluck has completely transformed the school lunch program.  Under his direction, the staff has been trained to prepare lunch fresh every day on site at each school using local, sustainable and organic products, whenever possible.  In fact, all meals use in-house recipes that incorporate fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh meats, fresh poultry and fresh fish.   Currently, Mr. Gluck is trying to coordinate taste tests and a question and answer period at upcoming PTC meetings to ensure that the food services department meets parent and student needs.  In the interim, feel free to email with your comments.

Improving the Health of the Community-at-Large
By taking steps to teach healthy habits now, we will reduce healthcare costs and improve our quality of life in the long run.  If you have the time and interest to support Nourish New Canaan, please take a moment to ask our selectmen, recreation department, chamber of commerce, restaurant/store owners and other town leaders to adopt one of these initiatives (or share your own ideas):
  • Ask local restaurants and markets to highlight healthy options for dining in and takeout.  
  • Publicize local biking, walking and running groups and provide suggested routes.  
  • Offer more open gym hours for people of all ages to play pick up games during evenings and weekends. 
  • Host a fitness fair featuring local personal trainers, gyms and sports groups.
  • Create opportunities for parents to do the same fitness assessment that their children are doing in school.  
  • Host a 5K walk/run/stroll route through the downtown to get the community moving.
  • Create a cookbook of healthy snack and meal recipes by local chefs.
  • Work with local media to develop a wellness column that leverages the knowledge of local experts.
  • Create a guide for buying produce in season featuring a seasonal recipe.
  • Offer discounts on exercise equipment, healthy meal options, etc. to encourage exercise and good nutrition.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!  As always, thank you for your help.