Healthy Head Start

More than 120 community children converged on Alumni Lawn this fall for relay races, tug-of-war contests and healthy snacks at the Fall Field Day Festival. The event was hosted by Vanderbilt University Healthy Head Start, a group of students dedicated to promoting healthy living through education and active lifestyles.

Like many good ideas, Healthy Head Start started with a well-taught college course.
As a junior, Brian Mayrsohn, like hundreds of other undergraduates, opted to take Vanderbilt University School of Nursing instructor Jamie Pope’s nutrition class last year.  He had always been interested in the topic, but did not fully understand the broad impact of poor nutrition until one particular class.

“Professor Pope used a series of U.S. maps to show how every few years our population was getting more and more obese,” Mayrsohn said. “I wanted to do something.”

So, Mayrsohn joined with fellow undergraduate Kristy Hamilton and together they founded Vanderbilt University Healthy Head Start which has served nutritious feasts to kids at a local Boys and Girls Club, taught 4- and 5-year-olds at the Edgehill Community Center about the enjoyment of eating fruits and vegetables, and partnered with the YMCA of Middle Tennessee to teach children about healthy lifestyles.

The key to the group’s success is making it fun.