Choosing change

Teenagers at Mt. Clemens Middle/High School in Michigan are taking part in a pilot program designed to help low-income students make long-term lifestyle changes to reduce their risk chronic conditions including obesity, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

The I Choose program is a partnership between the Greater Detroit Area Health Coalition, Henry Ford Hospital Macomb and the Delta Dental Foundation. Students in the program attend 16 weeks of classes focused on making healthy choices, setting goals, reducing stress and developing good eating habits.

Following the classroom sessions, students meet weekly for an additional 16 weeks to practice their healthy habits. Activities include visits to farmers markets, cooking classes, and hiking and biking on local trails. Special parent nights are designed to reinforce what students are learning and to provide families with resources to make long-lasting changes at home.