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Veteran nurse helps Baltimore students form healthy habits

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Posted at 8:09 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 20:09:27-04

MedStar Harbor Hospital is battling obesity and several other health issues in Baltimore schools with the help of a veteran nurse.

To the children she serves, Calvert Moore (R.N. and Ph.D.) is known as "Doctor."

"When I walk down the hallways, the little kids are so excited to tell me, 'Dr. Moore! I washed my hands! I washed my hands," Moore said. "They're so excited."

Moore travels between three Baltimore schools teaching students about hygiene, disease and healthy food.

MedStar launched the "Healthy Schools, Healthy Families" program five years ago to give city communities an extra boost when it comes to living a healthy life. After a "generous" grant from the Bank of America, Moore was hired to set up a "School Health Team" at each school to identify special needs and address them.

"A lot of times, kids mimic what they see their parents do," Moore said. "But kids are in a great place. They're willing to learn, they're willing to implement and they're willing to bug their parents to make changes, which is great."

Moore explained that eating right is one of the biggest problems. Many city neighborhoods are considered "food deserts" if a supermarket isn't nearby. Families often turn to fast food or other unhealthy, but inexpensive, options.

"Healthy Schools, Healthy Families" is fighting this phenomenon by coming up with creative programs for students.

One such program involves a partnership with the American Heart Association. Through that program, Dr. Moore helped plant a community garden at two city schools. There, students learn how to grow food from the ground up. The students then take that food home to eat.

"They get to actually see the different stages of what it takes to grow vegetables, so they're more engaged and willing to eat healthier," Moore said.

Through "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families," students and families are also learning healthy recipes from chefs and getting instruction on city programs. One example is Baltimarket, a website that lets residents order fresh produce online when a market isn't close. Moore said not many people know about it.

Savion Stewart, an 8th Grader at Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle, said Moore has helped him change his habits.

"There's a fruit bus across the street from my house and he sells fruit like bannas, apples," Stewart said. "I buy like two apples a day and I just start eating them."

"Healthy Schools, Healthy Families," currently serves students at Cherry Hill, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Arundel Elementary/Middle Schools.

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