Tulare County educators, students featured in upcoming ABC30 Children First special

Tulare County Office of Education’s Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention (NEOP) program and students from Terra Bella Elementary School and Summit Charter Intermediate Academy will be featured in the latest edition of ABC30’s Children First, airing Sunday, March 20.

According to Feeding America, the number of children facing hunger in the United States rose during the pandemic from 10 million in 2019 to nearly 12 million children in 2020. As March is National Nutrition Month, ABC30 has chosen to focus the half-hour special, hosted by news anchors Graciela Moreno and Jason Oliveira, on local programs connecting families with nutritious food and fitness.

NEOP nutritionist Alexandra Rogers was filmed at Terra Bella Elementary conducting a Harvest of the Month lesson for students. The segment focuses on communities in the Central Valley that are “food deserts” – rural areas that don’t have nearby grocery stores with fresh fruits and produce. The segment also includes an interview with Veronica Andrade from Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA), which partners with NEOP to support nutrition education. Through the grant that supports the NEOP program, HHSA recently worked to install a large refrigerated case at a Terra Bella convenience store to give local shoppers fresh produce options.

The special will also feature an interview with Jose Luis Espino, a physical education teacher at Summit Charter Intermediate Academy within the Burton School District in Porterville. Espino inspires his students to take their fitness seriously on and off campus. During the school’s distance learning period last year, Espino created daily exercise videos to get students and family members moving via Zoom.

Also, Valley Children’s Hospital doctors will address childhood obesity and dispel myths about what is really in food families may think is healthy. A local chef will offer tips on how to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables, while the Fresno Metro Ministry will teach parents and kids how to change up family meals with healthier ingredients.

The latest Children First special, “Family, Food & Fitness,” will air on numerous streaming apps this week or on the station Sunday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m. For more information on Children First and to see past episodes, visit www.abc30.com/childrenfirst.

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