Extension and Ag Research News


4-H Clubs Practice Eating Smart, Playing Hard

The Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs program recognizes 22 clubs for eating smart and playing hard.

Twenty-two North Dakota 4-H clubs have earned special recognition for making “Eat Smart. Play Hard.” lessons part of their 2008-09 club meetings.

“Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together” is a statewide campaign that emphasizes the importance of making healthy food choices, getting regular exercise and families eating together. The North Dakota State University Extension Service and Bison Athletics teamed up to launch the initiative in 2005.

This was the third or fourth year some clubs were named Healthy North Dakota 4-H clubs. This year, each club member received a certificate of recognition and an “Eat Smart. Play Hard.” drawstring backpack.

“These 4-H clubs have shown a commitment to a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious foods and regular physical activity,” says Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU food and nutrition specialist and Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club program coordinator. “These healthy habits will provide benefits for the rest of their lives.”

Clubs were required to incorporate at least one health, nutrition, food safety or physical activity into a minimum of six regular meetings during the year to be named a Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club.

“My focus as a leader was to get away from all the sweet and ‘junk’ type lunches that the families took turns bringing,” says Janell Lagein, leader of Towner County’s Handy-Thrifty Helpers 4-H Club. “The large number of overweight children in society really alarms me, so I tried to get the members and their parents to think of healthy snacks. It didn't take very long, and everyone was on board.

“Of course, at the annual potluck picnic, the desserts were still hit the hardest, but that's still better than every month,” she adds. “Even parents would comment, ‘Hey, what I brought fits right in with your Healthy Club theme.’”

This was the second year the club earned the Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club designation.

“We try to have at least two health-related study topics each year,” Lagein says. “Our Christmas party most always focuses on some sort of physical activity, whether it's snowboarding, tubing, skiing, ice skating, bowling or swimming. I'm proud of the way our club has worked it into their lifestyle.”

Cass County’s The Uniters 4-H Club is among those receiving Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club recognition for the first time this year.

“This program promotes an excellent way to teach kids that being healthy is simple and fun by incorporating healthy habits with regular 4-H activities,” says Janet Weinmann, one of The Uniters’ leaders.

“Club members enjoyed themselves with physical activities such as Games Galore,” she says. “They also had fun realizing that many foods they already eat are healthy by simply stating their favorite healthy snack during roll call and having healthy snacks at our meetings.”

Other activities that helped clubs earn that recognition included using global position system devises to track down objects that members hid, holding a healthy food drive, competing in a rodeo, learning about vitamins and nutrition facts in fruits, taking a quiz on healthy eating, listening to a presentation on beverages and why drinking water to stay hydrated is important, shoveling snow for the elderly, cleaning ditches, watching a demonstration on how to make a healthy sundae with fruit and yogurt instead of ice cream, helping clean the 4-H grounds, exploring new foods at a local grocery store, making trail mix and delivering Meals on Wheels.

The clubs that were recognized this year are, by county and the number of years they have received the Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs recognition:

  • Burleigh – Northern Lights (2), Silver Colts (2), Rocky Ridge (2), Country Kids (2), North Stars (1), Burleigh Busy Bees (1), Rolling Thunder Skate Club (1), Clover Classics (1), McKenzie Magnums (1), Dynamite Kids (3), Creative Cool Kidz (2), Dakota Guys ’n Gals (3)
  • Cass – Page Power (3), The Uniters (1), Wheatland Pioneers (2), Valley Adventures (2), Kindred 4-H Friends (2), Harwood Helpers (3)
  • Grand Forks – Eagles (2)
  • McHenry – Balfour Roughriders (4)
  • Ransom – Aliceton 4-H (1)
  • Towner – Handy-Thrifty Helpers (2)

4-H clubs interested in participating in the 2009-10 North Dakota Healthy 4-H Club program should contact their county Extension office.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.