The curriculum materials have been put together by a nonprofit organization called Shape Up Us, which creates educational content for teachers and classrooms based on nutrition education and other areas. The goal, the organization says, is to “[B]uild a circle of wellness that integrates comprehensive health education into existing curriculum.”
The new program is called Mineral Power and is integrated into an existing curriculum offering called the Hip Hop Healthy Program for Children. According to Jigsaw Health, this program focuses on the ‘Whole Child’ and features eight modules in the areas of nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and sustainability. The Shape Up Us organization says the program is designed to “build a culture of health” through the educational system in providing an innovative approach helping to solve many of the common challenges that face today’s youth, all of which affect academic performance. The program has reached more than 50,000 children in 15 states.
According to Jigsaw board member and advisor Steve Hanson, the curriculum can be easily integrated into existing school programs.
“The program is common core compliant,” he said. “It provides a complete program that schools aren’t teaching.”
"The Mineral Power program explains what minerals are and their importance in the human body. It also details how Magnesium supports health. The program achieves this in fun, interactive ways through music, rhymes and raps,” said Patrick Sullivan, Jr., co-founder and CEO of Jigsaw Health.
Big hill to climb on magnesium awareness
Hanson has broad experience in developing brands to back ingredients in the dietary supplement industry. He has worked on campaigns for FloraGlo lutein and Meg3 fish oils in the past, and currently is developing a prebiotic brand with PreNexus Health. That experience gives him some perspective on the hill magnesium has yet to climb.
The element is important in as many as 300 biochemical functions in the human body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein.
But even while the importance of magnesium might be understood by nutritionists, for the layperson, it's a mystery mineral. And that’s true of most of the other minerals in the diet, Hanson said.
“Other than calcium, there is a very low level of awareness for minerals,” Hanson said. “People know calcium is important for bone health, but no one knows what these other minerals do.”
“So there is a lot of work to do. This program is mean to educate teachers, parents and the children themselves about the benefits of magnesium and other minerals. That ultimately will grow the market,” he said.