On March 8, over 145 individuals from six counties attended the 2014 Northwest Region 4-H Healthy Living Day Camp at Calhoun Community College in Tanner, Ala. where they learned tactics to combat childhood obesity in their communities. The camp was funded by a grant from the National 4-H Council and The Walmart Foundation.
Marian Beck, a Regional Extension Agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says many people are aware that Alabama consistently ranks in the top 10 states with childhood obesity issues.
“As educators, sometimes it is our job to create an awareness of the problems that we see and give students the tools to offset the problems,” Beck says. “Therefore, when the youth become adults, they won’t have health issues such as diabetes, heart diseases and strokes.”
Third through sixth grade students from Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, and Morgan counties participated in nutritional workshops, physical fitness activities, hand-washing technique classes, dental exams and health screenings.
Forty-nine Calhoun Community College nursing students conducted the screenings and received four clinical hours credit. This unique partnership with the community college enabled the nursing students to utilize the facilities on campus with willing patients who were eager to learn about physical fitness and how to take care of their bodies.
Twelve Northwest Regional 4-H Council members served as teen teachers/leaders for the workshops and activities, while four Regional Extension Agents, a County Extension Coordinator, and a County Extension Agent taught classes and skills to attending elementary students.
“This is a wonderful example of agencies in a community working together,” Beck says. “We are constantly working together to make a difference in the lives of children in the area. If youth don’t know about the health problems that exist, how can they be fixed?”
Beck says she plans to apply for the grant again next year and continue partnerships in the region to hold a second Healthy Living Day Camp for youth in her Region.
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