by: LINDSAY KEEFER - French Prairie sixth-graders Jennifer Cordero (left) and Jose Gonzalez Bravo pose with a cutout sign at the health fair Thursday.A research study conducted on Woodburn middle school students could help the community receive health grants.

Oregon Health & Science University has worked in partnership with Woodburn High School for a few years, but professors wanted to open up a research study to middle school-aged students by conducting a health fair at each of the city’s middle schools last week.

“We love middle school,” said Dr. Lisa Marriott, assistant professor of public health and preventative medicine at OHSU. “It’s at that age when they’re starting to make decisions for themselves and start to own their choices. We hope this will help them make the healthy choices.”

Marriott led a team of volunteers in collecting data from Valor and French Prairie middle school students, conducting tests that ranged from by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Jennifer Cordero, a sixth-grader at French Prairie Middle School, takes part in a balance test at the school's health fair last week. learning students’ diets, sleeping patterns, cancer risk, blood pressure and more. One of the tests was a video game in which players try to avoid skin cancer zombies.

“It works well for engaging this age group,” Marriott said.

Students wore electronic bracelets as they wandered from station to station in the gymnasium during the allotted time.

Their personal results were also recorded in a pamphlet they could take home.

“Hopefully that will be a teachable moment in that they can take it home and talk to mom and dad about it,” Marriott said.

Volunteers included college students and Woodburn High School students who are involved in occupational health classes.

The data that was collected from the health fairs can be used toward applying for grants, a process that local Silverton Health employees are eager to take on, according to Simi Waage, an eighth-grade health and science teacher at French Prairie who participated in setting up the health LINDSAY KEEFER - Sixth-grader Emanuel Lopez Lopez gets his blood pressure checked from one of many student volunteers, this one from Pacific University.

She pointed out that grants could include, but wouldn’t necessarily be limited to, providing more nurse support in the school district.

“This will give them the data needed to back up information when writing grants,” she said. “They’re willing to work on gathering the data.”

Waage pointed out that she and Ken Bee, the school’s other eighth-grade health and science teacher who helped with bringing in the health fair, will work with their students in processing the data collected.

“We could use it in class to talk about how they can improve health, but also how to analyze data,” she said.

But last week, it was all about student engagement and learning about their personal health.

“Feedback has been great,” Marriott said.

“It’s been really fun and engaging for the students.”

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