Paul Coreil, Coolman, Denise, Roy, Heli J. | 12/1/2005 3:04:14 AM
The LSU AgCenter is part of a team recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the fight against childhood obesity.
The award was presented to Wellness Inc. of Duluth, Ga., during the Third Annual Innovation in Prevention Awards this fall. It recognized Wellness for its role in Delta HOPE – a program aimed at improving children’s health through classroom-based intervention in the Mississippi Delta area of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Partners in the Delta HOPE include the LSU AgCenter, the University of Arkansas and the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, said this award is an example of what can be accomplished when different groups work together to achieve important goals.
"This is collaboration is just one of the positive results we have achieved from the tri-state initiative with Mississippi and Arkansas," Coreil said. "By working together, we have a greater number of resources and are able to reach more people."
Delta HOPE grew out of a memorandum of understanding among the LSU AgCenter, Mississippi State and the University of Arkansas that was signed in May 2003. That agreement says the Cooperative Extension Services operated by those land-grant universities will participate in multi-state programs directed at childhood obesity, workforce preparedness, Master Farmer programs and rural community development.
The LSU AgCenter’s part in this effort includes bringing the OrganWise Guys, which were developed by Wellness Inc., to classrooms throughout the Delta to teach young people about proper nutrition and help stamp out childhood obesity.
Dr. Heli Roy, an LSU AgCenter nutritionist responsible for coordinating the LSU AgCenter’s part in Delta HOPE, said it is important to teach young people about proper nutrition.
"We are involved with school-based health centers to teach nutrition education," Roy said. "These types of activities are important so that when these young people start making their own choices, they can make the right choices."
The OrganWise Guys used in some of the efforts are fun characters used to help young children understand physiology and healthy behaviors. Developed by Wellness Inc., these characters are Hardy Heart, Madame Muscle, Windy the Lungs, Peri Stolic the Intestines, Sir Rebrum the Brain, Peter Pancreas, Pepto the Stomach, the Kidney Brothers, Luigi Liver and Calci M. Bone.
These characters also are integrated throughout the Body Walk – another component of the Smart Bodies program, a joint venture of the LSU AgCenter and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana that integrates classroom activities with hands-on learning to teach children how to build strong bodies and develop active minds by focusing on healthful eating habits and physical exercise.
In addition to the latest award, Delta HOPE was recognized by the Cooper Institute in May (2005) as one of the programs with the greatest potential to reduce childhood obesity.
For more information on nutrition and health, as well as other topics ranging from agriculture to family finances and more, go to www.lsuagcenter.com.