POLLOCK, La. (KALB News Channel 5) – The Louisiana 4-H program has again receivedthe $30,000 Eat4-Health grant through National 4-H and United Healthcare.
This brings the total for the two years to $65,000 for thesupport of healthful living efforts in the state of Louisiana. The amount ofthe first year's grant was $35,000.
For a number of years, LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Developmenthas incorporated healthful living and wise choices into its curriculum as a wayto increase the awareness of the obesity problem in the state, according toLanette Hebert, LSU AgCenter regional 4-H coordinator and co-chair of thehealthful living initiative.
With an extension of this grant, 4-H hopes to increaseawareness and work toward helping decrease obesity and its relatedillnesses.
This year's program included a healthful living component atthe 4-H Jr. Leadership Conference held at Camp Grant Walker on March 7-8, Hebertsaid.
"While at camp, the youth-adult team that attended theinaugural National 4-H Healthful Living summit in January conducted aseven-hour course for 30 teens," Hebert said.
The team of four teens and two adults used the lessons andcurriculum from the national summit to instruct participants with hopes thatthe teens will return to their parishes to further the healthful living effort.
"The main focus of the grant is to increase awareness ofMyPlate, which is the nutrition guide from the U. S. Department ofAgriculture," Hebert said.
"The grant also will provide information to helpparticipants increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables as well asincrease their physical activity," she said.
United Healthcare staff presented information on why theyare partnering with 4-H and the resources the company has available forparish-based programs.
United Healthcare community outreach specialist RhondaWinbush, who brought along Dr. Health E. Hound, the company's mascot, said hercompany provides the grants because it wants to see people live healthierlives.
"We are hoping that if we can get them started at an earlierage, then it will be natural for them when they get older," Winbush said.
Success for United Healthcare would be for the parishes todevelop healthful events and positive youth programs, Winbush said.
Louisiana is among 10 states receiving the healthful livinggrant this year, she said.
LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Nan Arthur from Sabine Parishattended the healthful living summit in Washington, D.C. She is working withthe youth who attended the summit to help them prepare other students to becomehealthful living ambassadors.
"What we're trying to do is help the whole family to starteating better, to manage their diets better and to manage their money as itrelates to eating," she said.
The 4-H'ers who went to the summit brought back ideas theyare sharing with their fellow 4-H Jr. Leaders to carry back to their parishes.
Chelsea Beasley, a sophomore from Sabine Parish, said theinformation she received at the national summit is good information that shecan pass on to her club and peers.
Tabitha Leonards, a sophomore from Acadia Parish and vicepresident of the Louisiana State 4-H Food and Fitness Board, said she iscurrently acting as a health ambassador.
"I attended the healthful living summit, and today we areusing the information to teach others about healthful choices," Leonards said.
Each state 4-H organization receiving a $30,000 grant fundedby United Healthcare is supporting healthful living programs, events and otheractivities administered by 4-H that encourage young people and their familiesto eat more nutritious foods and exercise regularly.