Swain Family Care helps students get a healthy start back to school

August 26, 2016

BRYSON CITY Swain Family Care participated in Swain County Schools’ back-to-school health fairs held at East Elementary, West Elementary, Swain Middle School and Swain County High School.

Tammy Johnston, MD, and pediatrician Brooke Budde, DO, Jennifer Peterson, RN, and registered dietitians and licensed dietitian nutritionists Melanie Batchelor, and Krystle Holt provided vision, height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure and healthy habit assessments for more than 200 students during the health fairs. The team used the ‘5, 2, 1 Almost None’ assessment to gauge healthy habits: five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour of physical activity and almost none of items such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks that are not 100% fruit juice.

The health fairs were held in connection with Swain County Schools’ open house events August 18 and 19. Students who participated in the health screenings received a ticket to bouncy houses set up at the elementary schools and middle school and high school students received backpacks and water bottles for participating.

“This idea was developed through the Swain County Schools School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) which has chosen to focus on three primary areas of student health and well-being. These areas include nutrition, exercise and sleep. The wellness screening was the students’ first activity in the year-long student wellness program,” said Sonya Blankenship, assistant principal of Swain County High School and district wellness coordinator.

Trish Hipgrave, public health educator for the Swain County Health Department, provided log books and dry erase boards for students to track physical activity and their intake of fruits and vegetables. Families could also sign up for healthy cooking classes in partnership with Swain Community Hospital’s cafeteria, and grocery store tours with $10 worth of free groceries. Students earn points in the wellness program for participating in the activities. The health department also provided information on healthy sleep for children and teens.

Swain Family Care, located inside Swain Community Hospital, provides primary care to adults and children in the community with Tammy Johnston, MD, David Johnston, MD, Brooke Budde, DO, and Vicki McCormack, PA. The practice will welcome Angela Struna, PA next month. Swain Family Care provides the full spectrum of pediatric vaccinations.

Swain Community Hospital recently expanded its wellness partnership with Swain County Schools by participating in the launch of the student wellness program. For the past two years Swain Community Hospital has supported teacher and staff wellness with customized programs based on incentive points for health activities. In May of 2016 and 2015 the hospital presented cash awards totaling $5,000 per year to the individuals and schools obtaining the most points.