With 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
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
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