The LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development department recently joined nine other states in a partnership with UnitedHealthcare to fight obesity.
The partnership, called Eat4-Health, includes a $30,000 grant from the health care organization to encourage youth to tackle the nation’s obesity epidemic, according to Lanette Hebert, LSU AgCenter regional 4-H coordinator and co-chair of the healthy living initiative.
The check presentation was made at the annual 4-H tailgate party at Parker Coliseum on the LSU campus before the LSU-Towson football game on Sept. 29.
The partnership is designed to encourage thousands of 4-H youth to make healthful choices for themselves as well as to encourage their friends, families and people in their communities, Hebert said.
“One of my responsibilities as co-chair is to seek funds to support our healthy-living programming, and one of the funds we were able to secure was the Eat4-Health National 4-H/ UnitedHealthcare grant,” Hebert said.
The grant will help teens become healthful living ambassadors, she said.
“Our goal is to train our statewide food and fitness board, which is composed of 25 teenagers who have been studying nutrition and fitness. And they are planning a statewide camp that will be conducted for elementary students in the spring,” Hebert said.
The board also will be conducting parish and regional activities such as healthful living day camps and contests to encourage people to get more involved in healthful living and to help them have a more balanced diet and fitness program in their life, she said.
With positive results from the planned activities, Hebert said, the hope is to have this program become a multi-year effort.
Learning to make educated choices that promote an active and healthful lifestyle is part of our mission, said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, which administers 4-H programs in the state.
“Louisiana 4-H is built on the foundation that we are preparing our youth for the challenges of tomorrow,” Coreil said.
This is the first time the LSU AgCenter has received this grant, Hebert said. “In the past, we have received the National 4-H Wal-Mart Healthy-living grant. This is the third 4-H healthy-living grant we have received in the past five years.”
At the partnership launch, UnitedHealthcare’s mascot Dr. Health E. Hound joined 4-H youth to encourage attendees to stay active and eat healthy. During this annual celebration, more than 2,000 families and 4-H’ers participated in activities designed to promote fitness such as sports competitions, dancing and rock climbing.
Each state 4-H organization is receiving a $30,000 grant funded by UnitedHealthcare to support healthful living programs, events and other activities administered by 4-H that encourage young people and their families to eat more nutritious foods and exercise regularly.
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