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Healthy Living

The Northeast Colorado Health Department aims to reduce people’s risk for chronic disease and the upward trend of overweight and obesity through strategies focusing on physical activity, nutrition, and healthy weight. 
Healthy Food & Beverage in Schools

Healthy Food and Beverage in Schools

Our Public Health Improvement Plan (PHIP) shows that Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma counties are at a higher average than the state for free and reduced lunches.
It is our goal to work with schools to help students make healthier choices.  Almost half of our students are eligible for free and reduced lunches and for many of these students this may be the only meal they receive during the day.  We are also significantly lower in our region in the area of eating fruits and vegetables while considerably higher in consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.  For this reason, we are working with the schools to create Wellness Committees, assess wellness policies, and help craft stronger wellness policies to help both students and staff live healthier lives.
Click here for 101 healthy snack ideas
Click here for 101 ways to get more exercise

Healthy Celebrations

From birthday parties to holiday celebrations, throughout the school year, children and teachers have numerous reasons to celebrate. Celebrations are a great way for children to feel part of their school community.
Students are taught good nutrition and the value of healthy food choices, in the classroom. However, many times snacks served in the classroom, in the case of a class party, are low in nutrients and high in calories. This sends students a mixed message. As a community, we need to lead by example to teach students that nutrition is not just an academic exercise but is important to their overall wellness.
Celebrations are an opportunity to introduce new, healthy foods and activities in a fun manner that will interest students and get them excited about being healthy. Healthy snack and activity ideas can be found by following the links below.
Other Benefits of Healthy Celebrations
  • Healthy Kids Learn Better
  • Protects Children with Food Allergies
  • Provides Consistent Messages
  • Promotes a Healthy School Environment
  • Puts Food in its Proper Place (Refreshments should not be the "main event.")
  • Creates Excitement About Nutrition

Non-food Rewards

Students are often rewarded for their accomplishments in the classroom. To combat the upward trend of overweight and obese children in our region, we recommend giving students non-food rewards. Food rewards contradict nutrition lessons that are taught in our schools, teaching children to eat when they are not hungry and adding empty calories to their diets. This can lead to life-long habits of unhealthy eating. 

Examples of non-food rewards:

Elementary Students
  • Extra Recess Time
  • Dance Party in the Classroom
  • Show and Tell 
  • Sit with Friends
  • One classroom coupon
Middle School Students
  • Listen to music in class
  • Earn extra credit
  • Sit with friends
  • No homework pass
  • Free time at end of class
High School Students
  • Tickets to school events
  • Reduced homework
  • Fun movie
  • Late homework pass
  • Free social time

Physical Activity in Schools

Physical Activity in Schools
In the Northeast region of Colorado, we have significantly higher rates of physical inactivity than the state average.
Healthy food and beverage needs to work hand in hand with physical activity to bring wellness to the forefront and give children the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives. 

Learning Landscapes

The Learning Landscapes Toolkit is a collection of 80 activities that can be incorporated during the school day to increase physical activity of students. There are seven sections to the toolkit including:
Each section has several activities with instructions, rules, and recommended equipment.   Click on each section above for an example activity. Give us a call if you would like more ideas, or to get your school their own copy of the Learning Landscapes Toolkit.

Brain Breaks

Brain Breaks are short, 1-5 minute breaks that should be used every 30-60 minutes for all students and teachers. Research shows that healthy students learn better and that physical activity affects the brain in ways that allow students to be more engaged and ready to learn.
Brain break activities can range anywhere from stretching and yoga to dancing and jumping-jacks. They don't always have to take away from instruction time, for example, when reviewing for a test, if a student answers correctly they do 10 jumping jacks, if they are incorrect, they touch their toes for ten seconds.  For more examples and ideas, check out the Teacher Toolbox.

What can we do to help?

  • Help craft and/or strengthen policies
  • Provide resources/information
  • Provide equipment
  • Teacher training
Need more information on Physical Activity in Schools?
Call Mechelle Beck at 970-474-2619, x6021
or email
or visit one of the following resources:
Worksite Wellness

Worksite Wellness for all School Staff

In January 2015, the CDC made public their yearly report stating that sitting all day is killing us, and they are now referring to sitting all day as the “new smoking.”  
We are working with schools to strengthen their wellness policies and develop worksite wellness programs. By getting the teachers involved in healthy activities and good nutrition habits, they can set a positive example for their students. We do this by helping with wellness activities, tips on how to get a committee started, and pairing the schools with outside companies that can also help. 
If you are looking for events or locations related to wellness near home or when you are on the road
Click Here
We can provide many resources to schools who are interested in incorporating wellness policies. some of these resources consist of:


  • Exercise Balls
  • Exercise Bands
  • Stress Relief Information
  • Healthy Eating Information and Tips

Healthy  Schools Coalition

Healthy Schools Coalition

The Healthy Schools Coalition (HSC) currently consists of students, teachers, food directors, community members, and parents from different schools.  The HSC was developed to work with all the schools in our region.  This coalition offers benefits to the schools in the areas of:  

  • Conserving and sharing resources

  • Achieving widespread reach in communities

  • Greater credibility

  • Forum for sharing information

  • Providing advice/guidance to NCHD

  • Foster cooperation between NCHD, school districts, community-based organizations, and community members



Anyone that has an interest in making the schools a healthier environment is welcome to join the coalition.  We will be meeting six times a year across all six counties. Meetings will be held across the six counties in two locations simultaneously connected by webcams to increase convenience for coalition members. The locations will be announced as dates get closer. Mileage to all meetings will be reimbursed. If you are interested in becoming a coalition member, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Need more information on Healthy Schools?
Call Sherri Yahn at 970-522-3741, x1242
or email
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