Guam diabetes coalition pioneers new curriculum

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The Guam Diabetes Control Coalition recently developed a new curriculum to train teachers in how to effectively teach healthy habits to public school students. The Coalition has selected the locally-produced children’s books, Ramon on the Phone and Midge at the Fridge, as part of their tool kit for elementary classrooms. Written by Frances Baumann (center) and illustrated by Ariel Dimalanta (far left) and Stephanie Librando (far right), the books use humor, games and jump rope songs to encourage children to exercise regularly and eat nutritious foods. The creative team presented 120 free books on November 8 to Coalition representative Patrick S. Luces (center) for use at the upcoming teacher training workshop in December.

The Guam Diabetes Control Coalition is harnessing the expertise of concerned health professionals, educators, local hospitals and private insurance companies to pioneer a new health curriculum and train teachers to instill healthy habits for eating and exercise among Guam’s children.

The goal of the coalition is to reduce the high incidence of childhood obesity in Guam and prevent diabetes and other chronic illnesses which often show up when obese children grow up.

The coalition has launched a five-year program in 15 public schools to train 20 core teachers a year. Those teachers in turn train 10 other teachers to instruct students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 in how to get fit and eat right.

The coalition has selected two storybooks – Ramon on the Phone and Midge at the Fridge – and their companion activity books for use in elementary classrooms to promote healthy habits in a playful way.

The books were created on-island by a team of all-Guam professionals, including author Frances Baumann, illustrators Ariel Dimalanta and Stephanie Librando, and audiobook narrator Ray Gibson.

“The books feature CHamoru characters, island settings, common expressions, and local traditions. All of which are both familiar and inspiring to Guam children,” says Patrick S. Luces, a member of the coalition’s steering committee and Program Coordinator of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program for the Guam Dept. of Public Health and Social Services.

“I am truly elated teachers are being trained to use my children’s books in local classrooms,” says author Frances Baumann. “I whole-heartedly endorse the Coalition’s new curriculum to improve the health and habits of Guam youngsters. And, I’m happy to give 120 free books for the upcoming teachers training in December.”

According to Baumann, creative production of the books was funded by Baumann Advertising and printing of the books was funded by a consortium including Calvo’s SelectCare Health Plan and Dr. Saied Safabakhsh of Pacific Medical Group.

Baumann said the storybooks are now on sale worldwide at Amazon.com. For more information, visit the website, www.guamfunbooks.com.

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