AMES, Iowa – Each summer, campers from all over the state visit the Iowa 4-H Center for a week of camp fun. This year, youth enrolled in two camps, Everything Camp and Counselors in Training Camp, will have the opportunity to participate in a research study conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach targeted toward lowering childhood obesity in the state.
The two camps will immerse youth in health promoting activities in five areas: nutrition education, gardening, culinary skills, physical activity and a health-promoting environment.
“The immersion experiences will develop youths’ skills and abilities so they can succeed, and transfer the positive health behaviors they experience at camp to their home and community,” said Ruth Litchfield, associate professor and state nutrition extension specialist at Iowa State University.
Since the 2011 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduction of MyPlate, it has been found that only 2 percent of average Americans are meeting the new guidelines for nutritious eating. Each day, campers will experience a nutrition education station to learn more about the MyPlate guidelines.
Ever-increasing portion sizes are contributing to childhood obesity. Among the many activities at camp, youth will participate in activities that will develop skills and strategies they can take home and share with their families. Campers will learn proper portions and how eating healthy is not just about choosing the right food, but choosing how much of it to eat.
“Most people know the basics of what is healthy versus what is not,” Litchfield said. “Through the activities at camp, we are trying to empower youth to take charge of their health and wellbeing.”
Campers enrolled in either camp can sign up to participate in the research study. Should they choose to enter the study, campers can receive up to a $65 camper scholarship. Youth can register for camp online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/center/.
“The Iowa 4-H Center is devoted to helping kids develop to their highest potential and lead healthy lives,” said Abbie Parker, Iowa 4-H Center program specialist. “Through this new camp experience, we’re hoping to help youth learn more about growing and preparing healthy food and participating in physical activity to lead healthier lives.”
For more information, contact the Iowa 4-H Center at 515-795-3338 or contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office.