Remember the dull old school health programs? Those boring repetitions of "spinach is good for you" and "be sure and brush your teeth"?
Now, in Santa Ana's Willard Intermediate School, there's a new beat to the old "take-care-of-your-health" singsong:
- Students are testing their lungs and breathing ability on ultra-modern electronic devices.
- Doctors, exercise specialists and other health experts are coming into the classroom to work with the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.
- There are unusual displays planned. To go with a lecture about the dangers of being overweight, a nutritionist will display a five-pound chunk of fat.
The pilot program, launched last month in the Santa Ana Unified School District, involves 40 boys and girls at Willard Intermediate. Called SHAPE, an acronym for Student Health Assessment Program/Education, the class is a cooperative venture of the school district and United Western Medical Centers, owner of Western Medical hospitals in Santa Ana and Anaheim.