Sarah Marsh is a dietitian and diabetes educator, and provides weight loss counseling and helps in-patient dietitians at Trinity Regional Medical Center.
As THRIVE coordinator, Marsh works to help make Fort Dodge's school children healthier.
Marsh has been at Trinity for eight years. She is a certified diabetes educator and has a master's degree in nutrition.
Through TRMC Youth Wellness, in cooperation with local schools, Marsh does a variety of things to help youth be healthier.
"(THRIVE) involves a curriculum we deliver to kindergarten, third-, fifth- and eighth-grade students," she said. "It involves a variety of challenges and wellness programs, everything from an after-school swim program, to parent newsletters, to Go the Distance Day, Little Dodger events, and wellness screens and lunchroom challenges."
A familiar face to local school children, Marsh said she enjoys being THRIVE coordinator.
"There's nothing better than teaching little kids to eat healthy, be healthy," she said. "They recognize you everywhere you go. They're excited to see you, and they always recognize you as the person who helped them be healthier."
At Fort Dodge Community School District schools and St. Edmond Catholic School, Marsh leads many healthy activities while promoting nutrition and fitness.
"The foundation of the activities that we do in the schools are either teaching them to eat healthier or helping them find ways to be more active," she said. "There's nothing better than walking with the kids around the track and teaching them different ways of being active and helping them identify ways they can be active at home to live a long, healthy life."
This month, Marsh is conducting wellness screenings in the schools. The screens measure height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, hip-waist measurement and acanthosis nigricans, a skin disorder.
"We send a letter home to each parent telling them what the results were," she said. "If those numbers are out of goal, we have programs to help that student or that family to become healthier."
For students screened with "values above normal," Youth Wellness offers counseling through the TRMC Healthy Living Department to help those students "make better and healthy lifestyle choices," Marsh said.
According to Marsh, good health in children is important.
"Developing healthy behaviors at a young age is critical in delaying the onset of things like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol," she said. "As we know, those things cost a lot to take care of, but they also have side effects, like being depressed from having a chronic illness."
Implementing healthy lifestyles and behaviors at a young age, Marsh said, prevents children from becoming overweight and suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
"They can stay off many medications. They can stay out of the hospital. They can live a long, healthy life, play with grandkids. And just have a joyful life," she said.
For more information about programs to improve the health and life of your family or child, contact Marsh at 574-6260.