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Hicks: Your Health And Wellness

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By Johanna Hicks

 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. 

Relevance

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%)

Response

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
  • MyPlate
  • 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.

Results

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.

Closing Thought

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].

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Author: Faith Huffman

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