Teaching healthy habits to prevent childhood obesity
Louisiana ranks No. 3 in the United States in childhood obesity, according to research done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This study shows that 20.8% of children 10-17 years old are considered to be obese. This percentage has only grown over the last years and is on track to increase further if changes do not begin to happen.
Through Louisiana 4-H’s healthy living program, 72% of participants stated that they learned more about healthy food choices because of the program. Also, 49% of youths surveyed are now paying attention to water consumption. One-third of participants brought healthy meal and snack ideas back to their families, increasing the community reach of the program. This knowledge will carry into the rest of their adult lives, creating healthy habits and lifestyles.
The program aims to address the issue of childhood obesity by specifically serving youths 10-17 years old and teaching them healthy habits. The Louisiana Food and Fitness Board is comprised of high school students who have been trained in U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate standards. The teens then educate the communities at the parish level through food and fitness workshops and day camps.
A total of 5,689 youths and 166 teens were reached with at least 68 hours of nutrition education. In addition,1,972 family members were reached. The education was conducted through a series of lessons and one-time events held during school hours, at school gardens or in after-school events and workshops.