New York Times Feature
New York Times Health/Science May 6, 2013
PERSONAL HEALTH MAY 6, 2013, 12:01 AM
A Musical Message for Children on
By JANE E. BRODY
For all her talent and determination to help children eat better, Michelle Obama could still pick up a few pointers from Helen Butleroff-Leahy, a 66-year-old former Rockette turned registered dietitian.
Ms. Butleroff-Leahy devotes her time to teaching children in disadvantaged neighborhoods about eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Her lessons take the form of musical productions, rehearsed in classrooms and on the stages of 52 New York City public schools so far. Children from each school do gymnastics and dance to a rap- based script by Roumel Reaux that entertains while explaining the essentials of good nutrition. The 45-minute production by Ms. Butleroff-Leahy is called “My Plate: The New Food Guide Musical.”
Truth be told, Ms. Butleroff-Leahy’s lessons, both nutritional and dramatic, could benefit American children in every socioeconomic group, for none are immune to the foods laden with sugar, salt and calories that pervade our society, both within and outside schools. I had the opportunity to watch her in action last month at P. S. 81 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where enthusiastic 8-year-olds from four second-grade classes joined four professionals to proclaim the virtues of “eating for the health of it.”....
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