San Xavier students start eating healthy

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - A Tucson chef and the San Xavier Co-Op Farm are teaming up to combat obesity and diabetes among children on the San Xavier Reservation.

Their collaboration will bring students at San Xavier Mission School locally grown fruits and vegetables with no chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers.

It's part of "Chefs Move for Schools", a national program sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama to end childhood obesity.

The program pairs chefs with schools to help teach kids healthy eating habits.

Michael McDermott, with "Chefs Move for Schools", is making it his mission to fight this disease.

He says it is really easy to get kids excited about eating healthier foods.

"We have really high quality ingredients," McDermott says. "We have great flavor and then we sort of mimic fast foods or exciting foods that kids are already use to."

These quality ingredients are coming from the San Xavier Co-Op Farm next to the school.

Bill Worthey, general manager of the co-op farm, believes the change in eating habits needs to start in the schools.

"If we could get them encouraged in that and show them that foods from the farm are very tasty then we have started them down the right path for their future," Worthey says.

The farm will be providing the school fresh produce on a daily basis.

Shirley Kalinowski, principal at San Xavier Mission School, is aware of the growing epidemic and says this program is just one more thing the school is doing to help fight obesity in kids.

"We try and monitor what they're eating," Kalinowski says. "We give them selections of other kinds of foods and we also try and keep them active."

Allison Campus, an 8th grade student at San Xavier Mission, acknowledges she can see a difference after sampling some of the healthy vegetables.

"It keeps me awake," Allison says. "Fast food just brings you down."

McDermott agrees the change in eating habits among kids will not change overnight but it all starts with the first bite.

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