Local Schools Celebrate United Way’s Crunch Out Program Essay Winners


Knox County, Ohio — Crunch Out Knox County teaches 4th grade students in Knox County Schools about making healthy food choices and getting physical activity every day.  Information about 5-2-1-0 is shared. 5 stands for 5 servings of Fruits & Vegetables – Serve a fruit or vegetable at every meal. 2 represents 2 hours of Screen Time – Limit screen ‘play’ time and plan when to watch TV. 1 signifies 1 hour of Physical Activity – Take a walk or play outside together. 0 instructs students to drink 0 Sugary Beverages – Try water or milk instead.

Education and practice are the best way to create healthy habits. That’s what Crunch Out provides for Knox County’s students! Crunch Out Knox County provides information and tools to help our children create and maintain healthy habits to support life-long wellness.

The six-week county-wide program is held in the Fall during physical education class. Students learn how to use an exercise ball as a fitness tool and practice different ball exercises. Students receive their own exercise ball to take home and keep and are encouraged to share program information with their family.  Research shows that families have the biggest influence on their child’s health habits. Not only do we want the kids to move more, but we also want to get families involved and moving. By having an exercise ball at home, students and family can use it and create new healthy habits together! A training guide – My Everyday Guide to Living Healthy –  offers different ball exercises and tips about healthy eating and portion sizes. Students record their nutrition and physical activity in Journals and earn prizes for completing weekly journals and actively participating in gym class.  At the end of the program, students complete an essay – “How I Am Living Healthy!”  Winners are selected from each classroom and school.

This year’s Crunch Out Essay winner of Knox County is Nadia Kershner of Fredericktown Elementary School.

Other winners include school winners Owen Undercoffer of East Knox Elementary school, Briley Wagner of Centerburg Elementary School, Nathan Jose of Mount Vernon City School District, Kate Marhefka of St Vincent De Paul School, as well as classroom winners Paizley Barner and Kara Chaffin at East Knox Elementary School, Harrison Kissel and Ashley Whaley at Fredericktown Elementary School, Abby Parks and Marybeth Vines at Centerburg Elementary School, and Jake Hubbard at Mount Vernon City Schools. The contest was a little different than in past years, with Mount Vernon Elementary Schools choosing to make the essay optional and Danville Elementary Schools offering the program without the essay component.

Thank you to our Crunch Out Partners! United Way of Knox County Ohio, Inc partners with Get Healthy Knox County, YMCA of Mount Vernon, Knox Public Health, and the Knox County Foundation to offer the Crunch Out program to county schools.

United Way of Knox County is a cornerstone of community wellness and success. We strategically connect partners and resources to community needs in order to measurably impact the quality of the lives of Knox County residents. To learn more, visit uwayknox.org.

Winning Essay:

Nadia Kershner, Fourth Grader at Fredericktown Elementary School

The Crunch Out and 5-2-1-0 program has helped improve my health in many ways. The Crunch Out program has taught me healthy eating habits. The exercise ball provided by the program has helped me be more active. This amazing program has given me a healthier lifestyle.

The 5-2-1-0 program has helped me eat 5 helpings of fruits and vegetables a day. Spend less than two hours on electronics. Spend at least an hour being active. Plus, drink more water than sugary drinks. The journaling helps too. Before I turned my first journal in, I added up how long I was on electronics. It was like 12 hours! I also realized that I wasn’t eating too healthy. I only ate about 1-2 servings of vegetables a day. So I tried on my second journal to eat more healthy and spend less time on electronics.

I have to admit that I didn’t really use my exercise ball for the first couple of weeks. But when I finally decided to use it I was so achy that I could barely move! So it started using it more and more. By the time the post test came for the Crunch Out program I was ready. I could tell a big difference. I wasn’t as stiff after the test than I was on the pre test.

This program has also kept me fit. I played a sport and was always out of breath and felt pain coursing through my body. I was so stiff that the next day I could barely move my neck. Then we got our exercise balls and our 5-2-1-0 packets. I started eating healthier and staying active. So when it was time for our game I did even better than before!

This program has also really helped my eating habits. I try to limit myself to one sugary drink or one sweet each day. Sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes I eat a lot of candy on weekends. Other than that I think I’ve been pretty good about my eating habits. But before this program I was going home eating an entire bag of chips. Now I either eat something healthy or just a bit of chips.

Another way the Crunch Out and 5-2-1-0 program has helped put me in a better mood. Before I started using my exercise ball and 5-2-1-0 statement I always hurt. Whenever I was aching or stiff I was always mean to people. I often got yelled at from my parents because of my mood. But when I started eating healthier and using my exercise ball I was a lot less stiff. I was still stiff and achy from time to time but not as often.

The last ways the Crunch Out program has helped me spend less time on technology. I always used to go home and get straight on my iPod and play it for hours. Then I’d eat dinner and watch a show. But now that I’m using my exercise ball and staying active I spend less time on my iPod. Now I’m going home playing with my cats and sometimes I use the exercise ball. Then I play board games or card games with my sister. I still spend time on my electronics but not as much as before.

These are all the ways the Crunch Our and 5-2-1-0 program has helped me. My health has gotten better and I’ve been eating healthier. I’ve been more active and spent less time on electronics. I recommend using this program if you have trouble with your eating habits or spending too much time on electronics. Even after this program ends I know I’ll still use the exercise ball and 5-2-1-0 charts to help me live a healthier lifestyle.

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