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A Passion Born of Personal Struggles

Tanya Davis is a County Extension Agent with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Decatur, TX. She uses The OrganWise Guys Comprehensive School Program as a part of her school programming.  

OWG:  Tell us a little about your background and what motivates you to work on the issue of childhood obesity.

Tanya:  I am a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Home Economics Education. Even way back then I was always interested in nutrition education. I have always struggled with overweight issues, so now when I see young children who may be just slightly overweight and even several who are obese, my heart hurts for them. I welcome information and new learning strategies that will help me educate parents, children, teachers, and communities concurring the prevention of obesity and the chronic health issues that maybe accompany this issue.

OWG: What are some of the biggest challenges you face and how do you address those?

Tanya:  In visiting with teachers who are currently implementing OrganWise, they have indicated that helping students grasp the importance of taking responsibility for their own bodies is a real challenge. Also the fact that children do not have control over the food choices available to them at home is very challenging. Parent education is essential to ensure that children can avoid health problems like high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and type 2 diabetes.

OWG: Tell us what you enjoy about using the OWG programming.

Tanya: OWG was easy to implement in the Boyd Elementary classrooms. Teachers who are implementing OWG indicated that the students enjoy the books and DVDs. They learn while having fun! The students are motivated to share the information that they are learning at home and then return to the classroom to share success stories.

OWG: What are some creative ways you’ve seen teachers use the programming?

Tanya: One second grade teacher lets the students take turns being the teacher. They love this power to teach other children. The have fun being the “good role model.”

OWG:  What motivates you to keep going?

Tanya: My passion has always been to see young people succeed in whatever positive learning environment they are in. I would love to see that our efforts with OWG has made a difference in the lives of the children at Boyd Elementary. In Texas, we have Fitnessgram – this is a fitness assessment. Scores from these assessments are compared to Healthy Fitness Zone® standards to determine student’s overall physical fitness and suggest areas for improvement when appropriate. What a grand day it would be to see vast improvement in the Fitnessgram results each year as a result of nutrition education implementation.

OWG:  What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Tanya:  A cup of yogurt and a piece of fruit – usually a banana.

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