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Musical teaches children about nutrition

December 4, 2012 1:30:00 PM PST
There used to be the food pyramid, which told you how much of each food group to eat. Last year, My Pyramid became My Plate. It recommends more fruits, veggies and grains. That plate is the theme for a new creative production helping to fight childhood obesity.

The fourth grade students of P.S. 127 are rehearsing for their upcoming production. The show is called "My Plate - the New Food Guide Musical".

Broadway actors have teamed up with New York City students to educate other kids about nutrition and fitness.

"It's basically just having fun and exercising," said Cielo Espejo, a fourth grader in Veggie Rock.

"It was about showing others that you should eat healthy and eat more vegetables to stay fit," said another fourth grader, Izabel Alulema, in Veggie Rock.

The show was created by Helen Butleroff-Leahy, a nutritionist and a former Rockette, Broadway dancer, and choreographer.

"What I wanted to do was combine nutrition education with an actual musical and put it together so it would be a fun experience," Butleroff-Leahy said.

But how do we know if it's working? Eyewitness News asked the kids what they think.

"I go outside and play with my friends and exercise more," said Arian Rodriguez, a fourth grader.

"Instead of eating more chocolate, I eat vegetables and fruit and healthy stuff," fourth-grader Karyme Rios said.

Rios admitted that she still eats chocolate, but only sometimes.

There's no question that the food choices kids make on their own depends on the foods they get at home, and so parents are invited to the performances so they can hear the same message.

"They say, 'I want you to know my mom is only buying whole grain bread. We're only have 1 percent milk,' so you see such a tremendous change," Butleroff-Leahy said.

So far, the 10-week program has been implemented in 50 New York City schools. The big show for the kids of P.S. 127 starts Wednesday. They will be performing at three schools in three boroughs: at P.S. 33 (Manhattan, 28th Street and 9th Avenue) on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m., at P.S. 127 (East Elmhurst, Queens, 98-01 25th Avenue) on Friday, Dec. 7 at 10:15 a.m., and at P.S. 377 (Bushwick, Brooklyn, 200 Woodbine Street) on Friday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m.

The productions are funded by donations and government grants. Their hope is to get every public school in New York City.

For more information about My Plate, CLICK HERE.

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