Extension and Ag Research News


4-H Clubs Practice Eating Smart, Playing Hard

Fifteen 4-H clubs were recognized for demonstrating their commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

The Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs program recognized 15 clubs for eating smart and playing hard in 2009-10.

Those North Dakota 4-H clubs, with a total of 243 members, earned the special recognition for making “Eat Smart. Play Hard.” lessons part of their club meetings for the past year. Two clubs also earned extra recognition for completing the “Family Mealtime Challenge.”

“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.” fabric flying disc and banner pen.

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

  • Barnes - Valley Friends, 11 members (1)
  • Burleigh - Biz Kids, five members (2); Dakota Guys ’n Gals, nine members (3); Rocky Ridge, eight members (3); Silver Colts, 12 members (4)
  • Cass - Kindred 4-H Friends, 35 members (3); Page Power, 14 members (4); Uniters, 20 members (2); Valley Adventures, 15 members (3); Wheatland Pioneers, 13 members (3)
  • Divide – Flickertails, 14 members (4)
  • Grand Forks - Eagles, 31 members (3)
  • Morton - Missouri Valley Bunch, 38 members (3)
  • Ransom – Aliceton, eight members, (2)
  • Towner - Handy Thrifty Helpers, 10 members (3)

“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 Extension food and nutrition specialist and Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs program coordinator. “These healthy habits will provide benefits for the rest of their lives.”

Clubs are required to incorporate at least one nutrition or fitness activity into a minimum of six regular meetings during the year to be named a Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club.

The Valley Friends 4-H Club earned its first recognition by striving to include healthy snacks at most club meetings and emphasizing healthy activities. For example, some members demonstrated the healthy snacks they make at home, and the mother of a member demonstrated proper stretching techniques and explained why stretching muscles is important before starting to exercise.

Other activities that helped clubs earn recognition included taking walks, fishing, playing tag, skiing, swimming and competing in a children’s rodeo; attending demonstrations on CPR and hand washing; learning how to make homemade hand sanitizer; conducting a food drive for a local food pantry; helping with Meals on Wheels; and taking care of gardens in the community.

But for many clubs, eating smart and playing hard aren’t just club activities; they involve the whole family.

“After meetings, many of the moms gather around and talk,” says Carrie Woodruff, a Valley Friends Club parent. “Many of these conversations revolve around meal preparations, so we share different ideas for a variety of quick, healthy meals. All of our moms are very committed to their children’s health, and I know they discuss nutrition and healthy eating habits at home.”

4-H Clubs interested in participating in the 2010-11 North Dakota Healthy 4-H Clubs 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
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