LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The American Heart Association Thursday teamed up with a local chef to provide elementary and high school students hands-on healthy cooking classes.

KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports Chef Bryce Fluellen, owner of Yams Catering, gave a free workshop at Manual Arts Senior High School.

Fluellen, who teaches the American Heart Association’s “Kids Cook with Heart” program, showed the teens at Manual Arts High School how to chop celery, and cube their beef, chicken and salmon.

“I didn’t learn a lot of this stuff until adulthood, so the earlier that you learn, the easier it is, so that when you get older, it won’t be so difficult to make those changes in order to lead a healthier lifestyle,” Fluellen said.

Kids Cook With Heart is a 10-week program designed to curtail the onset of childhood obesity by teaching students nutritional information combined with basic cooking skills to prepare their own healthy meals at home.

Parents attended an orientation workshop prior to the program start to make them aware of the objectives and to seek their support at home to ensure students make progress toward a healthier overall diet.

“I told my parents to go grocery shopping for these ingredients,” said Manual Arts senior Nester. “I’m finally seeing a lot of greens in my house.”

Over the past 30 years childhood obesity has more than tripled, with caloric imbalance being blamed as the main culprit for child obesity, according to the American Heart Association.

“I’ve found kids and adults develop healthier eating habits when they are given better knowledge of the wide variety of fruits and vegetables available and how easy it is to prepare healthy meals,” Fluellen said. “The best tactic is educating them on the high levels of sodium, sugar, fat and chemicals and found in some of the processed foods they eat regularly and how unhealthy they really are.”

A survey was conducted prior to the workshop with the students and parents to measure how often they purchase processed foods, high-sugar beverages, fruit and vegetables, and how often they cook meals at homes. It will then be compared to a survey given at the end of the session.

Kids Cook With Heart is held at four Los Angeles Unified School District schools: Manual Arts, Accelerated Charter Elementary, Animo Jackie Robinson High School and Challengers Boys & Girls Club.


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