Creekview Middle School fifth-graders are not big on radishes.

Creekview Middle School fifth-graders are not big on radishes.

Students tried a variety of fruits and vegetables last week as part of the Union County Wellness Consortium and Memorial Hospital of Union County's "5-4-3-2-1-Go! Take Off Union County" program.

The program, funded by a grant from the Ohio Hospital Association's Foundation for Healthy Families, focuses on healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, Rebecca Wilder, an exercise physiologist at the Health Center at Memorial Hospital, explained.

"You see and hear so much about childhood obesity," Wilder said. "We're just trying to lay some ground work."

Health Center director Debbie Stubbs said the program engages children in part by a non-traditional delivery. High school students from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center's medical technology program are trained to lead the sessions for the younger children. Stubbs said the program is currently recruiting high schoolers from other Union County schools to participate in the program.

"The teen-to-child approach is unique and allows both (age groups) to learn the lessons," Stubbs said.

The Health Center provides all training and materials. Currently 20 high school students are involved, six of whom helped lead the Creekview program.

The foundation of the program is the idea of daily healthy habits - five servings of fruits or vegetables, four servings of water, three servings of dairy, two or fewer hours of "screen time" (TV, computer, video games) and one or more hours of physical activity.

The pilot program at Creekview last week focused on fruits and vegetables.

"We brought in a variety of maybe non-traditional fruits and vegetables for the kids to try," Wilder said, including kiwi, peppers, sugar snap peas and radishes, the latter of which were not met with great enthusiasm.

"A lot of the kids had not tried many different kind of fruits and vegetables," Wilder said. "Our hope is that they get some ideas and take them home to their parents."

The 12-week program will be taken to fourth-graders at other elementary schools throughout Union County. Students sign up for the program, which meets during lunch and recess.

Additional programs will focus on the other aspects of "5-4-3-2-1-Go!"

Stubbs said the grant money also is being used to supply schools with refrigeration units to store additional fruits and vegetables, and also provides each school with a Dance Dance Revolution game.