Miami-Dade Public Schools takes stand against childhood obesity

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) has future plans to implement an inschool pilot program in partnership with the national non-profit organization, Common Threads, to educate fourth graders on nutrition, physical well-being, and the appreciation of cultural diversity.

M-DCPS superintendent Alberto Carvalho will be honored for his passion and support toward fighting childhood obesity at Common Threads’ annual World Festival event on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Moore Building in Miami’s Design District.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study, the rate of childhood obesity in this country has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults leading to health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and ultimately cardiovascular disease.

“In response to this growing public health concern, Common Threads facilitates a series of programs, in partnership with the school district, that teach youth the life skills to become healthy, productive citizens of the world,” said Linda Novick O’Keefe, executive director of Common Threads. “Miami- Dade County Public Schools has long demonstrated a strong commitment to innovative educational programming, and we look forward to working with superintendent Carvalho in the expansion of our programs through this in-school pilot.”

This unique pilot program is likely to operate in select schools and will consist of a series of 20- to 40-minute interactive lessons which support Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Math and English. “Small Bites” will be incorporated into the regular school day and give teachers a fresh way to support the CCSS while providing students with the tools they need to live longer, healthier lives. Each lesson plan will include background information for the teacher, a list of materials and resources necessary for that lesson, teaching suggestions and preparation tips, and tools for student participation and assessment.

Common Threads provides both after school and in-school programming to children, from predominately low-income households, in various cities including Chicago; Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Founded by celebrity chef Art Smith almost 10 years ago, the free hands-on cooking classes teach students the importance of healthy food, how to cook wholesome and affordable meals, and foster an appreciation for cultural diversity through cooking.

Each year, Common Threads celebrates its success and showcases the work of the students during the World Festival event. The yearly event brings together celebrity chefs, organization supporters and local residents to celebrate a variety of cultural foods and learn about Common Threads’ mission.

For additional information on Common Threads, or to purchase tickets for this year’s World Festival, visit

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