This project takes a teens teaching youth approach to spreading the word about healthy lifetsyles. Through the use of the NJ 4-H Get Moving/Get Healthy program, teens in a local high school will be trained to teach fun, hands-on lessons that focus healthy lifestyles. These teens will then go into 4th grade classrooms in elementary schools to teach these lessons to students.
“Get Moving – Get Healthy with New Jersey 4-H” was created as a way for Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension’s Department of 4-H Youth Development to address the Childhood Overweight/Obesity issue in New Jersey. Programs aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity levels with youth can have a long term impact on young people’s health and well being throughout their life span so it is important to change children’s habits early in life. Because of this, the “Get Moving – Get Healthy with New Jersey 4-H” program is designed to reach elementary school age children as the primary audience.
The Get Moving/Get Healthy (GMGH) program is a kit of 8 different hands on lessons that focus on 3 areas: easy ways to get exercies, understanding MyPyramid, and portion sizes. The activities include Think What You Drink, Serving Mix and Match, Portion Distortion, Finding Your Pyramid, Healthy Plate, Measure Up, Read the Label, and What Counts. Each of these activities was created and approved by teens throughout the state of New Jersey for inclusion in the GMGH kit.
We have several teens in Morris County trained as Food and Fitness Ambassadors. These teens teach and present the GMGH program at events around the state. For this program, Food and Fitness Ambassadors will help plan and teach two 2-hour training sessions for local high school students. At the end of the training, these students will also be Food and Fitness Ambassadors (FFAs.)
The new FFAs will then plan four 1-hour sessions for 4th grade students in their district. Each 1-hour session will focus on specific lessons from the kit and end with preparing a healthy snack. All youth will be pre and post-tested on the knowledge they gained during their sessions with the Food and Fitness Ambassadors.