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Grocery_bag_of_healthy_foods1.jpgWith an almost $5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System are joining 13 other universities to create an obesity prevention program aimed at college students

The Brainchild of a UT Nutrition Professor

The program, titled “Get Fruved,” is the brainchild of Sarah Colby, a University of Tennessee assistant professor of nutrition.   It is part of a nationwide 4-H social marketing and environmental change initiative using peer-to-peer interaction to encourage children, adolescents and college students to  increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables as a part of their daily  eating habits.

The term “fruved” alludes to the program’s emphasis on incorporating both fruits and vegetables.

The grant, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture was the largest of three grants awarded by the institute to combat childhood obesity. 

Auburn University/Alabama Extension Serving as One of 13 Partners

The University of Tennessee will partner with Auburn University and 12 other universities throughout the nation.

More than 1,000 university students throughout the nation will work together to create the peer-to-peer interactions, according to Colby.  These interactions could range from stress management and gardening on campus to tackling food access and creating dance nights as an incentive for enhanced physical activity.

Eventually, college students will move beyond their campuses and partner with high school students to help them develop a campaign within the high school contexts. Colby ultimately hopes to extend this peer-to-peer action from the high schools down to the middle schools.  

Coming to Alabama in the Future

Dr. Onikia Brown, an Auburn University assistant professor of nutrition and leader of Alabama Extension’s Human Nutrition, Diet and Health team, says that Auburn and Alabama Extension served an integral role in the development and integration of the plan.  While these outreach efforts will initially be carried out at other land-grant universities, Brown says she ultimately hopes to introduce the project on Auburn’s campus in the future and with the ultimate goal of reaching high school and middle-school students throughout the state.

The other participating universities include the University of Florida, South Dakota State University, West Virginia University, Kansas State University, Syracuse University, New Mexico State University, the University of Maine, Rutgers University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Rhode Island, the University of New Hampshire and Tuskegee University.


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