Pig lungs, spinach smoothies, an Iron Man competitor and local public servants welcomed Wilson Elementary School students Friday during an interactive health and wellness fair in the gym.
Twenty-five vendors participated in the daylong event that Wendy Schmidt, physical education teacher, organized to promote healthy habits.
"The kids usually love this," Schmidt said. The health fair takes place about every three to four years, so students who experienced it when they were younger "can go in with different eyes this time," Schmidt said. It also encourages them to carry healthy habits into adulthood.
Massage Envy, YMCA strength coaches, the Wauwatosa Fire and Police departments, the Sleep Wellness Institute and others manned booths where students could taste, touch and feel health education, while collecting free pencils, crayons and fliers.
Getting a reaction
Garrett Stangel, parent, personal trainer and Juice Plus spokesman, handed out free smoothies and asked participants to guess the ingredients. Students were surprised to learn the smoothie, which tasted mostly like banana and apple, they said, actually contained spinach, as well as flaxseed, almond milk and vanilla.
On the other side of the gym, two pig lungs — one healthy, the other infected from smoke and tar — hung next to a jar of tar and photos of mouth and throat cancers. Monir Almassi, volunteer with the American College of Chest Physicians, inflated each lung with air so kids could differentiate the two.
"When they say 'ew,' that means they're getting it," Almassi said.
CPR dummies also were in the fair's rotation. All students learned how to administer CPR by methodically pressing their palms two inches into the dummy's chest for two minutes.
"I feel tired," Logan Espinosa, third grade, said after the two minutes. "It hurts your hands."
Fourth- and fifth-graders were tested on CPR at the health fair. Those who passed received a certificate of completion, Schmidt said.
Gary Kiltz, parent of third-grader Eliana, talked about children's triathlons. Kiltz has completed more than 40 triathlons and two Ironman Triathlons, a long-distance race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run.
Children as young as 3 years old can begin competing in triathlons. Distances increase with age, but start as low as a 25-yard swim, 0.4-mile bike ride and 0.10-mile run.
"It's a great summer opportunity," Kiltz said.
The Wauwatosa Police Department taught kids a healthy habit that is perhaps less intuitive: being wary of strangers and staying safe on the Internet.
Spokesman Anthony Roberts, community service officer, said "Facebook retaliation," a form of online bullying, is happening among younger and younger kids as Internet access increases.
Kids are curious, Roberts said, and parents should help mentor that curiosity by teaching kids Internet safety.
"This is the developmental stage," he said. "If you don't get them young, you miss the boat."
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