Anyone can be healthy “if you eat right and try to get moving,” said a young participant in Move Across Missouri, a program developed in partnership with University of Missouri Extension 4-H and the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Move Across Missouri encourages 4-Hers to increase their physical activity and track the time they spend moving through the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which challenges kids to log 60 minutes of physical activity for five days out of the week for six out of eight weeks.
The PALA is one of four challenges First Lady Michelle Obama has issued to communities to reverse childhood obesity through the Let’s Move! initiative. Move Across Missouri is just one of many moves 4-H is making to carry out one of its core goals: healthy living. 4-H strives to equip youth with healthy living knowledge and skills that will prepare them physically, emotionally, and socially to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
With leadership from the 4-H National Headquarters, 4-H has made big strides in engaging not just folks in Missouri but 4-H’ers across the country in the PALA challenge. When the First Lady launched Let’s Move Faith and Communities on November 29, 2010, 4-H’s Professional and Volunteer Development National Program Leader Doug Swanson, 4-H National Headquarters at the USDA, announced three ambitious commitments:
Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, with the involvement of many 4-Hers, will develop 2,600 school gardens in 2011. Through the Master Gardener program, we anticipate that well over 650,000 pounds of fresh produce will be provided to local families who have that need. Over 1 million young people will be involved in community gardening in some way.
Also this coming year, 4-H is committed to having 250,000 4-H youth incorporate regular physical activity into their 4-H club experiences on a yearlong basis. We anticipate that 100,000 of those youth will achieve the President’s Active Lifestyle Award.
4-H will reach all 6 million of our young people with the message that they can live a healthy life. We have set a goal to help 3 million 4-H young people develop the skills to make healthy decisions over the next three years.
And 4-H is well on its way! In Missouri, Move Across Missouri’s 462 participants have logged almost 100,000 hours of physical activity. Click here to learn more about how 4-H is moving in Missouri! And if you would like to join Let’s Move Faith and Communities, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to take on the challenge in your community for a healthier generation of kids.