In her Independent Study presentation “Nutritional Disparities in the US based on Race, Community, and Socioeconomic status,” Lexi Stein (12) presented a children’s book she composed that explored nutrition. The book discusses different types of food groups, vitamins, and minerals, and it contains a number of educational and entertaining activities such as crossword puzzles and Mad Libs to teach elementary school students about the fundamentals of healthy eating.
While nutrition has always interested Stein, she believes that proper eating habits are especially important during a global pandemic, as they can allow for quicker recovery and strengthen the immune system, she said. Her internship last summer for JuicePress, a nutritious beverage company, tasked her with sourcing products, which enabled her to explore the realities of nutritional inequalities.
“They needed [the produce] to be gluten free, no sugar, not processed, USDA certified, and it was really overwhelming at first,” Stein said. “When I finally found those products, I would look at the price for them, and it would be so exorbitant that it was unlikely that the majority of the population could afford [them].”
Stein originally did not picture herself writing a children’s book. “When I was studying about access to healthy foods, I started looking into school lunch and breakfast programs, and when I clicked on more links and more studies, it led me to the study about knowledge being a huge factor of nutrition and made me want to write this book,” she said.
In the future, Stein hopes to publish her book and spread her findings to the school’s Lower Division (LD) and to New York City public schools, she said. “I knew I wanted to go out, interact with people, and show what I’ve learned, especially when I’m saying knowledge about nutrition can help kids have a healthier eating mindset,” she said. “It’s one thing to say it, but it’s different to make a difference with it, go out, take everything I’ve learned and throw it out to the rest of the world and to other children.”
Science teacher Dr. Susan Delanty, who is also Stein’s advisor, has been of immense help during the research process, Stein said. “[Delanty] did get her doctorate in nutrition, so she has a wealth of knowledge,” she said. “In addition, she’s always sending me articles, links, and information that could be so useful to my project.”
Delanty serves as a listener to Stein’s research, but Stein has decided the direction of her project on her own, Delanty said. “Her creative brain just took over and she started thinking about how she could teach and give that information to children,” Delanty said.