Hero Image

Sectional 4-H Field Day Boosts Nutrition and Physical Activity

The Issue

Obesity among 6- to 11-year-old youth has tripled over the past 30 years. Among California 4-H members, two-thirds self-reported to be at a healthy weight, while 7 percent were underweight, 15 percent were overweight but not obese, and 12 percent were obese. Empowering 4-H youth and their families to adopt healthy habits will help California's health climate.

What Has ANR Done?

A University of California Sectional 4-H Field Day (November 2011) drew more than 100 participants and presenters. The event featured workshops and life skill stations related to family and consumer science, and new opportunities to expand knowledge related to healthy eating, health and technology integration, food safety, and physical activity.

One session included a high-energy "Minute to Win It" presentation focusing on reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, increasing physical activity and improving stress management strategies. Other workshops shared tools and resources to enhance healthy living.

Youth learned to use technology to enhance healthy living, including mobile applications, online financial literacy, and how to track physical activity online to earn the President's Active Lifestyle Award.

The Payoff

Field day participants increase knowledge and skills related to healthy living.

Pre- and post-tests revealed an increased understanding of and interest in 4-H Healthy Living projects. Attainment of knowledge and skill-based outcomes was documented.

Most (88%) participants learned to safely chill large containers of food and how to safely thaw food at the "Make it Safe, Keep it Safe" workshop. Many (73%) who attended the "Money Talks for Teens" workshop learned what a budget is, and 87 percent learned to save money. Most (88%) participants attending a workshop on implementing nutrition education into 4-H project meetings were able to identify at least two benefits of the integration, and most (88%) said they could lead others in a nutrition activity.

The partnership between 4-H and the Expanded Food Nutrition and Education Program yielded maximum results. Nutrition educators shared their expertise while 4-H youth development professionals and volunteers created an engaging learning environment for youth. This successful event will continue to be offered for 4-H members and their families annually, and is considered a promising model for 4-H field days across the state.


Supporting Unit: Youth, Families & Communities

EFNEP, 4-H Youth Development, San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension
Mandi Bottoms, 4-H Healthy Living Coordinator, (530) 752-4359, mlbottoms@ucdavis.edu or Anna Martin, Nutrition, San Joaquin County Family and Consumer Science Advisor, (209) 953-6121, acmartin@ucdavis.edu.