Basehor-Linwood High School health and physical education instructor Susan Mayberry has been awarded a $1,000 grant as part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation’s Healthy Habits For Life program. More than 150 grants were awarded to fund activities in 2018 aimed to help reduce cardiovascular risk, increase physical activity or learn healthy eating habits for students. Developed 12 years ago, the program is spending nearly $150,000 in grants in 65 Kansas counties.

Mayberry’s grant will be used to purchase oxygen sensors, blood pressure sensors and rhythm and heart rate armbands. She is developing a 16-week course to track results from those devices. Students will create a baseline health chart, a food and fitness diary, investigate their family tree and any health risk factors that may be present and create healthy meal plans. Plans are to also incorporate guest speakers into the program to include a cardiologist, a dietician, a personal trainer and other health professionals.

“We applied for this grant with hopes of implementing a meaningful project into our Health Science and Nutrition and Wellness courses,” said Mayberry. “Ideally, these strategies will be implemented to create optimal lifestyle goals for each student when the project is complete.”

Part of the program will include students completing a two-week food and fitness diary and collecting family history. By investigating medical issues within the family tree, students will be able to identify if they are in an at-risk category for specific health issues.  Interviewing family members will create the opportunity for a health dialog between the student and their family and hopefully spark an interest in learning more regarding their family health history.  

Once students learn and understand how to identify health risk factors, they will research possible strategies that can be used to mitigate those factors through living a healthy lifestyle including appropriate levels of exercise, nutrition and sleep,

Mayberry plans to incorporate a series of additional guest speakers throughout the project including professionals in the areas of diabetes, personal training and mental health. Scheduled class activities to raise the heart rate to promote wellness will include yoga, Pilates and Zumba.

Proper healthy nutrition is key to any program such as this one. Students will have the opportunity to cook and create recipes that are affordable, easy to make as well as healthy. By tracking their health status, students will be able to see health changes throughout the semester.  

“I’m thrilled to have won this grant,” Mayberry said. “To be able to provide advanced opportunities for students in our district to study the human body is exciting. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas does a remarkable job of giving back. I’m grateful and it feels good to win.”

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com