Last week, I provided a brief summary of educational impacts in the area of diabetes management. This week, I’m sharing information about Extension activities pertaining to youth health and wellness – summer day camp in particular.
According to https://nccd.cdc.gov, Hopkins County has a population of approximately 36,810, with 21% of children living in poverty. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that an average of 21% of youth ages 6-19 are overweight. Additionally, approximately 24% achieve 1 hour or less moderate physical activity; an average of 45% consume less than 1 serving of fruit per day, and 50% consume less than 1 serving of vegetables per day. Other factors that can be a detriment to youth health and wellness include:
- adult obesity (31% of Hopkins County population)
- adult smoking (17%)
- insured (22%)
The Community Health/Wellness Alliance and Hopkins County Master Wellness Volunteers identified the need to continue addressing childhood health in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and well-being. This was accomplished by partnering with the Sulphur Springs Independent School District 2021 summer day camp program.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provided 8 sessions, each approximately 1 to 1½ hours in length. Incentive items were distributed to reinforce the topics taught. Sessions included:
- physical activity at each session
- “Color Me Healthy” curriculum
- imaginary field trips
- sun and water safety
- Hands-on cooking session on reading and following a recipe, food safety, hand hygiene, and kitchen safety.
- Seven issues of Color Me Healthy newsletter included recipes, tips for healthy eating, suggestions for incorporating physical activity into daily life, and more.
A retrospective 17-question post survey was distributed. Twenty-five surveys were returned indicating the following:
Students indicated learning:
- 100% (25/25) were able to identify dairy products from a list
- 100% (25/25) were able to identify recommended number of minutes of physical activity
- 100% (25/25) were able to identify the best beverage for hot days
- 96% (24/25) were able to identify safe food practices
- 92% (23/25) were able to identify what to do in the event of severe weather
- 88% (22/25) were able to identify sedentary behavior vs. physical activity
- 88% (22/25) were able to identify foods in the protein group
Intent to adopt practices:
- 100% (25/25) indicated that they will drink more water and fewer sweetened beverages
- 100% (25/25) indicated that they plan to eat breakfast every morning
- 88% (22/25) indicated that they plan to eat more fruits & vegetables
As a side note, the partnership with the SSISD earned the School Health and Wellness Award from the Texas Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences at the 2021 state conference.
Never underestimate the impact you may have on a child.
Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent for Hopkins County, may be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 518, 1200-B West Houston St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; phone at 903-885-3443; or email at [email protected].