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Health Dept. Implements Ohio Healthy Program

Kelli Haney, right, health educator for the Belmont County Health Department, discusses the Ohio Healthy Program at the county Board of Health meeting Monday. Listening is Linda Mehl, director of nursing.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Belmont County Health Department is implementing an Ohio Healthy Program grant with two local preschool facilities.

Kelli Haney, health educator for the department, said she is “working with teachers to reduce screen time and develop healthier eating” among young children.

Speaking at the Belmont County Board of Health meeting Monday, she said Barnesville Nursing School and Little Rocks Learning Center in Barnesville are designated as participants in the Ohio Healthy Program. She is training personnel at other schools to receive the designation.

The program targets children of ages 3-5. who are enrolled in day care or pre-school facilities.

For this age group, the recommended screen time is limited to “30 minutes a week while in school,” she said.

To meet this recommendation, Little Rocks Learning Center plays music, instead of using a television, at nap time, Haney said. Children are sleeping during nap time now, she added.

Through the state grant awarded to the health department, early child care professionals receive training on menu improvement, family engagement and policy development.

“The Ohio Healthy Program is an obesity prevention effort,” she said. In Ohio, reportedly 36 percent of Head Start students are overweight or obese.

This initiative educates children on healthy eating habits, family-style dining, gardening in the classroom and reducing screen time.

In other matters, Linda Mehl, the department’s director of nursing, said more than 300 influenza shots have been administered this autumn, with only two doses of flu vaccine remaining. Many of the flu shots were given during home visits and at senior housing complexes, she said.

The Board of Health approved Mehl’s recommendation to hire a registered nurse for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. The board also agreed to advertise for a secretary-billing clerk’s position.

Robert Sproul, deputy health commissioner, said two births and 34 deaths occurred in the county in October. He said repairs continue to be made at the county-owned building housing the department’s offices.

Board President Elizabeth Glick and members Joel Braido, Dr. Renato DelaCruz, Dwight Jenewein and Irene Louda attended the meeting. Board member James King was absent.

The board’s next meeting will be held at noon Dec. 9 at the health department, 68501 Bannock Road, St. Clairsville.

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