Healthy Living Impact Report

Lanette Hebert  |  7/6/2011 10:43:56 PM

4-H remains a leader in health-related education in an effort to promote the physical, emotional and mental well-being of our youth. The National 4-H Healthy Living Mandate focuses on many health-related educational issues, including: mental and emotional health, foods and nutrition, physical health and safety. Louisiana 4-H offers a variety of programs to promote healthy living among children of all ages. Healthy Living programming includes those covered by the Walmart and United Healthcare Healthy Living grants, as well as the state Food and Fitness Board and Camp, and Smart Bodies.

I. Louisiana 4-H Walmart Healthy Living Grant Phase II was funded to provide resources and opportunities for youth and their families to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles, which will ultimately result in youth voice advocating for a fit future.

Eleven mini grants were awarded to parishes throughout the state to enable youth and adult partners to develop hands-on nutrition, fitness and safety programming to target local needs impacting youth and their communities.

Those projects included school gardens (3); parish-based Food and Fitness boards; Ascension Fit4 the Future; Allendale Kids of Hope; Cameron’s Walk It like You Talk It - A Community Nutrition and Fitness Program; Operation COOK; Family Nutrition Night; Advanced Kid Chef; Washington Healthy Living volunteer project.

Selected outcomes of the mini grants included:

  •  100% of the youth participating can label and explain the purpose of MyPlate.
  •  80% of the participants reported actively balancing calories in and burned.
  •  Participant knowledge of food groups, nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, and cooking to preserve nutrition increased significantly.
  •  Participants reported enjoying cooking as an activity and then eating the food they prepared. They reported looking at fast food in a different way.
  •  74% of the youth tried a new food today.
  •  77% of the youth learned something new about food safety.
  •  96% learned something new about food customs around the world.
  •  61% learned something new about food science.

203 students (67.7%) participated in the evaluation. A paired samples t-test indicated a statistically significant increase of .15 from pretest to posttest in their attitude toward gardening (t=3.777; p=<.01).

Other activities funded as part of this grant were the state Food and Fitness Youth Leadership Board’s summer and fall meetings, Food and Fitness camp, challenge camps and healthy living summer camp track.

In all, 78 partnerships were formed; 568 youth and adults were trained to implement the program in their communities; 3,654 youth and adults received direct education through the Walmart Healthy Living Grant.

II. United Healthcare Eat4Health Grant Louisiana 4-H was awarded another National 4-H grant in partnership with United Healthcare with an emphasis on teen Healthy Living ambassadors. The grant began with a statewide kickoff and provided funds to support a healthy living track at summer camp, volunteer leader forums and agent professional development.

Outcomes collected to date:



Youth Ambassadors






During the Food & Fitness educational track, all campers (3,030) received pedometers in an effort to promote walking for physical fitness. Campers took an average of 11,967 steps per day at camp. Given the time period Monday afternoon to Friday morning, a typical camper takes approximately 41,885 steps while at camp.

III. Statewide 4-H Teen Food & Fitness Board The State 4-H Food and Fitness Board is designed to capture youth voice and advocacy in promoting healthy living throughout the state. It is composed of 17 youth volunteers, six adult volunteers and four faculty members.

The board convenes in July, November and January to make plans for the year. As board members, the teens will 1) plan and promote food/fitness educational programs that provide opportunities for the development of life skills, including decision making, communicating, leadership, planning and organizing and problem solving; 2) gain skills necessary to follow a healthy lifestyle and make healthy food choices in a variety of settings; 3) gain knowledge about the sciences of food/nutrition and health/wellness and to understand scientific methods used in research; and 4) explore careers related to nutrition, dietetics, food science, exercise physiology and related fields.

The state board plans an annual statewide camp for 4-H members in grades four through six and adult leaders. Beyond the camp, board members are active in regional and parish events, and some serve as teen leaders for parish-based boards and healthy living project clubs.

Outcomes: The board members completed the National 4-H-provided evaluation instrument that was submitted to National.

IV. Wild about Food and Fitness: Statewide Food & Fitness Camp The 17 youth and 10 adult members of the State 4-H Food and Fitness Board planned a WILD time for 75 fourth- and sixth-grade 4-H members, 12 teen leaders and 25 adult leaders who participated in the 2012 Louisiana 4-H Food and Fitness Camp. During this weekend camp, participants were educated on healthy eating, featuring MyPlate and fitness. The participants participated in 10 hands-on educational sessions – five on healthy and safe food preparation and five on fitness. Other features of the camp included a "get-active" night program as well as make-n-take food and fitness activities. Teen and adult leaders participating in the camp receive additional leadership sessions in an effort to help replicate the efforts at the parish/regional level.

Outcomes: The participants completed the National 4-H-provided evaluation instrument that was submitted to Gretchen Swanson Center.

Video of the camp can be found at  

This grant began with a statewide kickoff and provided funds to support the healthy living track at summer camp, volunteer leader forums and agent professional development.

Smart Bodies (SB)

During the FY12 period, 116 schools, 39,619 youth, 2,125 teachers and 2,345 volunteers participated in the Smart Bodies Program. Approximately 81 schools have registered to participate during the FY2013.

Additionally, 5,773 youth, 1,699 adults and 180 volunteers participated in the Body Walk via public events such as AgMagic and other health fairs such as “Sign up Saturday,” “Project HOPE” and “Camp We Can.”


Of the teachers surveyed, the average class size was 20 students. 80% of all teachers attend the teacher training provided by the LSU AgCenter agent and 82% attended the school assembly conducted by the LSU AgCenter agent. The fruit and vegetable tracking posters, wisercise manuals, OrganWise Guys DVDs, and OrganWise Guys games were the most widely used curricular items. Teachers reported that they used the Wisercise activities on average 3.1 times per week and the OrganWise Guys materials 3.2 times per week. Comments from teacher and administration evaluations included:

Alton Elementary’s Smart Bodies curriculum implementation has been very effective. The students remember the OrganWise Guys and their functions in the body. I am hearing students reminding others to make healthy food choices and try new fruits and vegetables. The students have definitely been positively impacted by this program. – Kathleen Katsorchis, Alton Elementary Assistant Principal

“My students have learned how eating healthy and exercising can be fun and help you to be healthy. I challenged them to eat a fruit and/or a vegetable every day for lunch or snack. They are reminding each other to eat their fruits and veggies. I love the Wisercise activities, and so do my students. They are a great brain break too!” – Lori Pichon-Milford, Fifth-Grade Teacher,

My students absolutely loved participating in the Smart Bodies program. They were excited to chart their consumption of vegetables and fruit each day, as well as exercising daily. My students are encouraging each other to eat healthy at lunch. Even after the Body Walk, we are continuing to chart our eating choices and exercising. It is so great to see my students excited about making healthy life choices!!! – S. Accardo, Third-Grade Teacher

Student evaluations:

Program evaluations indicated that student/youth participation in the SB Program has increased nutrition, physical activity and physiological processes (i.e. organ systems) knowledge, in-school physical activity levels and willingness to consume fruits and vegetables. In separate evaluations, students indicated that they intended to be physically active, eat fruits and vegetables, drink milk and water (as opposed to soda), and eat a healthy breakfast daily.

Background Information: Smart Bodies is a comprehensive nutrition education and physical activity 4-H school enrichment program for children in K- through fifth-grade. In 2011, Smart Bodies was featured by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality “Healthcare Innovation.”. It was recognized again as a National 4-H Program of Distinction in 2012. Smart Bodies consists of three components: Body Walk (BW), OrganWise Guys, and Take 10! or Wisercise classroom-based physical activity programs. Currently, a new classroom-based component called, 2 Step in the Classroom is being piloted.

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