Our Gimme Five featured Leader this week is truly a jack-of-all-trades—Stacey Antine has clinical background, founded HealthBarn USA, a major force in the movement that has reached over 50,000 kids and adults, and is also an author. So let’s dig into this week’s Gimme Five, and if you’re still interested in learning more about Stacey or connecting, check out her PreventObesity.net profile page here.
Name: Stacey Antine, MS, RDN
Title: Founder and Author
Organization: HealthBarn USA
What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
During my dietetic internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, I saw first-hand how children were being “treated” for being overweight by getting weighed in, sitting in front of food models and more. I saw the confusion and shame on the faces of the children and parents and thought there had to be a better way! I knew that healthy-lifestyle education instead of treatment was needed to reverse the epidemic, and that the educational experience had to be fun and interactive so that kids and parents could embrace the informational and skills required for real behavioral change—that’s when I created HealthBarn USA and opened the first location on a family farm in Bergen County, N.J. in 2005.
How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
By getting dirty! Everyday I work with a variety of children either in our year-round healthy-lifestyle programs, during school or scout field trips, or in the garden, the kitchen or the Barn’s classroom. Every child has the opportunity to grow their own food, harvest it, create and taste delicious and nutritious recipes, and learn about why fresh is best for their bodies.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
Through our seasonal programs, camp, field trips and school assemblies, HealthBarn USA has reached over 50,000 kids and the grown-ups who love them. I know from the letters I have received from thousands of kids that they are making better choices for their health and for the health of their families and the planet, too.
Who is your role model in your work?
NATURE! I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons from being in nature from growing food to composting to hanging out with the insects and animals that make up our dynamic lifecycle. Nature never lets you down when you respect her and do as nature intended!
What game or sport did you play growing up?
I was a left-handed pitcher playing softball growing up and really excelled at this sport. As the pitcher, I had to manage a lot of pressure, but I could always count on my team! That’s how I like to work as a grown-up, too!
Each week, our own Prarthana Gurung speaks with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Want to take part? Visit Prarthana’s profile and contact her.