Families learn to eat healthy, exercise more at weekend 4-H camp

Schultz Bruce, Hebert, Lanette G.

Jumping rope was one of the exercises at the Food and Fitness Camp used to show kids how fun exercises can be part of a healthy lifestyle. The two-day event was held at the LSU AgCenter 4-H Camp Grant Walker near Pollock. Photo by Bruce Schultz

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Louisiana Tech dietetics students Abigail Hennigan, standing at left, and Kelly Lazzell, standing at right, teach a class to adults on preparing healthy menus during the Food and Fitness Camp. Photo by Bruce Schultz

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Participants at the Food and Fitness Camp practice stretching as one of the exercises taught during the event. Photo by Bruce Schultz

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News Release Distributed 02/24/14

POLLOCK, La. – Families learned about healthy eating and the importance of exercise at the Louisiana 4-H Food and Fitness Camp held at 4-H Camp Grant Walker Feb. 22-23.

“The camp has been refocused on family nutrition this year,” said Lanette Hebert, LSU AgCenter 4-H coordinator for the Southwest Region.

The camp was the result of Youth Voice-Youth Choice grant from the National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.

An important part of the camp was the teaching of MyPlate, which emphasizes eating healthy portions and more fruits and vegetables, along with more physical activity, Hebert said.

During the camp, youngsters and their parents met together and separately for the nutrition and exercise sessions. They also learned how to plan menus and prepare food.

Eating together as a family without distractions of television or cellphones also was stressed, Hebert said.

Assisting in many of the nutrition classes were four dietitian interns from Louisiana Tech University. One of the interns, Christie Clark, said the camp helped them gain valuable experience.

“We teach them to apply what we’ve learned,” Clark said.

In one class, parents learned about smartphone apps such as MyFitnessPal, which tracks calorie consumption and physical activity. In a class on food shopping, they learned about apps to save money on groceries such as ibotta, Money Saving Mom, Hip2Save and Scantopia.

Physical therapist Josh Fredieu gave talks to the adults about how to stay active, even while sitting at a desk, with stretches and specific motions.

Denise Holston-West, LSU AgCenter nutritionist, taught a class on reading food labels and watching out for fat and sodium.

“Studies have shown that gradual weight loss is more healthful,” said another of the interns, Michelle Falin.

The kids also learned how to prepare healthy foods and snacks, such as hummus with carrots and cucumbers.

The camp was planned and implemented by the Louisiana 4-H Food & Fitness board comprised of teens from across the state. Four of the 4-H students who taught classes had attended a workshop in Chevy Chase, Md., to learn about how to teach healthy living habits. That trip was funded by the Eat4-Health grant funded by National 4-H Council and United Healthcare.

Also, 4-H students taught the kids about different exercises, and they took pulse rates before and after activity to learn about getting their hearts working harder to develop fitness.

Parent participant, Nicole Coreil of Rapides Parish, said she used the camp to get a jump start on eating better and getting more exercise. “I’m trying to change some of my lifestyle habits.”

Her daughter, Rebecca, also came to the camp even though she was hobbling on crutches from a foot injury. “If they see us set good examples as parents, they’ll learn those healthy habits.”

Rebecca Coreil said even though she couldn’t participate in most of the exercises, she learned plenty from the nutrition class. “I learned all about good calories and empty calories.”

Jodi Arton of Iberia Parish said she brought her daughter Jeanette to the camp to learn healthier habits. She said her family has a history of health problems that she wants her daughter to avoid.

Carol Steckler of Ville Platte came to the camp to increase her knowledge about eating and exercise. She said she exercises 90 minutes a day, but she wanted her daughters to learn about the importance of fitness from their peers.

“The kids realize the importance of being trim now,” Carol Steckler said.

Bruce Schultz

2/25/2014 4:22:17 AM
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