Rock ’n’ roll nutritionist delivers healthy message to students (VIDEO)

Posted by Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:40 am on Friday, April 27 2012

Nutritionist Jill Jayne had the Belding Middle School student body singing and dancing about healthier eating habits Wednesday afternoon during a one-hour assembly. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Jill Jayne Bio

Jill Jayne is the country’s only rockstar nutritionist. She is the leading expert in creating and delivering interactive media about health to kids and families. She is the creator of the live rock ’n’ roll nutrition show “Jump with Jill,” the accompanying audio CD “Get Me Goin’,” and the “Nutrition Rock Invasion” teacher toolkit. Jayne’s knack for rock ’n’ roll nutrition is the result of being a registered dietitian mixed with her musical experience as lead singer-songwriter of her rock band Sunset West. Jayne has a master’s degree in nutrition education from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in nutrition and theater from Penn State University. She resides in Pittsburgh, Pa.

BELDING — Belding Middle School was rocking away Wednesday afternoon to the theme of healthier lifestyles when “rock star nutritionist” Jill Jayne performed a one-hour show dedicated to nutrition education.

Students were up and out of the bleachers in the school gymnasium as Jayne had students dancing and singing to songs about healthier eating habits in a rock ’n’ roll approach to communicating a healthier message.

“We got up and we were dancing, we were singing at the top of our lungs, and it’s really about cutting through all of the other messages and getting right to the heart of what it is that you really want,” Jayne said. “Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to be happy? Nothing that you buy can really make you (happy) … you have to do that for yourself.”

Jayne travels across the country performing live “Jump With Jill” shows for schools and was noticed by the Fuel Up To Play 60 committee of six students at the middle school when she performed at Ford Field in Detroit last year.

Belding eighth-grader Katie Wood, 14, said she was grateful Jayne made the trip to Belding to perform her show.

“I think nutrition is something people are really starting to focus on because of obesity,” Wood said. “I think it’s important for kids to stay healthy and active.”

Wood said though she and many of her fellow students know what it takes to be healthy, she believes Jayne’s message will resonate better with students in the long run.

“I think (my classmates) will take a lot away from this experience,” she said. “I know in class when you are just sitting there and a teacher is talking, you can zone out. But when something exciting like this is going on and you get into it, you become much more focused.”

For eighth-grader Peyton Mount, 13, the show was entertaining and fun, but said the message is what’s important.

“(Jayne) does a lot of singing and dancing and brings a lot of different fruits into it, it’s pretty crazy,” Mount said. “A lot of kids haven’t been getting as active and they’ve been watching more TV and haven’t been eating as much healthy foods, so this makes it more interesting for them.”

Jayne said the show isn’t about educating students about what is necessarily good or bad for them, but finding a way for students to change their habits to create a healthier way of living.

“It’s not just about knowledge, we know kids know how to be healthy, they know to drink water, they know not to smoke and they hear these things all the time, but it’s really about that action step in being able to replace that soda with a water or with a 100 percent juice or a low fat milk,” she said. “I hope today was very motivational in getting them to act on the knowledge that they have. It’s really about the experience for them and having this be something they can remember.”

Middle school physical education teacher Jennifer Dispirito, who helped bring Jayne to Belding with grants through Fuel Up To Play 60 and other programs, said the show was an immediate success.

“Our students loved her and I thought we needed to get her to personally come and meet our kids,” Dispirito said. “It can get a little boring being preached to about what is healthy, but it’s really about moderation and eating more healthy foods than unhealthy foods. I think seeing someone like Jill Jayne just reinforces the fact that you can have fun and eat foods that taste great without loads of sugar and calories.”

As kids remained in the gymnasium to get autographs and pictures with Jayne after the show, Dispirito smiled, hoping Jayne’s message would have a lasting impact.

“This really is great for middle school level kids who kind of need this to get excited about things like fruits and vegetables,” she said. “This was well worth the time and effort put in.”

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