Health is a core belief of the 4-H program, as evidenced by the four Hs of the 4-H clover: head, heart, health and hands.
4-H is dedicated to developing physical, mental and emotionally healthy young adults who can prosper in their communities. Colorado State University Extension must be proactive in assisting youths and their families through promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
As many already know, childhood obesity has become a major epidemic in the United States. The main causes of this epidemic come from poor nutrition and physical inactivity. These causes are difficult to avoid. Youths are increasingly bombarded with an abundance of unhealthy food choices and sedentary activities such as TV watching and video-game playing. This provides a great risk to the overall health and well-being of our communities. However, it also provides a great opportunity for people to take action to combat this risk with positive lifestyle choices.
This article is to inform the La Plata County community of a potential opportunity for you and your family. Wendy Rice (our family and consumer science extension agent) and I are recruiting families for a community-based research study promoting better healthful living through small, sustainable lifestyle changes. The program is called America On the Move.
America On the Move is looking for families of different shapes, sizes and body types with at least one child around 8 to 12 years old and at least one parent or guardian willing to participate. The program is six months long. One visit with Rice is necessary to receive and go over program materials, but other than that, no travel should be necessary.
During the six months, your family would keep track of heights and weights, wear pedometers (step-counters) and track steps, fill out questionnaires and read various materials about practical ways and tips to living more healthfully.
This free voluntary program is a great resource. It helps families assess their home food and home physical-activity environments. Through assessing these environments, families can make improvements in their daily habits in and around the home to maximize healthy eating and active lifestyle choices. The program allows for participants to make specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals to achieve success. In addition, it provides the tools to track goals in a simple and easy format.
Personally, I really like the small changes approach. The program is set up to try different tips to see which ones your family can maintain. This approach can lead to the long-term sustainability of your familys health by avoiding burnout by doing too much too quickly.
This program is open to all families, not just 4-H members. For more information about America on the Move, visit www.americaonthemove.org or contacting the Extension office.
We look forward to hearing from you regarding this opportunity to better our communitys health.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.