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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU sponsors fit field days for youth

SANTA FE - Fifth-grade students at Espanola, Santa Fe and Los Alamos school districts will learn what it takes to be healthy and fit when they attend Just Be It! - a nutrition and fitness field trip sponsored by the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and the 4-H.

mately 600 students will attend field trips in which they will participate in four 30-minute workshops.

Rio Arriba County's Just Be It! will be on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Carlos Vigil Middle School. Santa Fe County's Just Be It! will be on Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds on Rodeo Road. Los Alamos County's Just Be It! will be on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Fuller Lodge and the Los Alamos Community Building.

Just Be It! is designed to reduce three key risk factors for childhood obesity: lack of nutrition education, not eating enough fruits and vegetables and not getting enough physical activity.

"We are targeting fifth-grade students because they are at the age children begin to develop their own values and habits of eating," said Diana Del Campo, NMSU extension child development and family life specialist.

The workshops will include:
?MyPyramid: Students will be introduced to the new MyPyramid system. They will learn what a serving size is within each food group and how the nutrients affect their bodies and contribute to good health.
?Vary Your Veggies and Focus on Fruit: Students learn about the nutritional qualities of vegetables and fruits and set goals to eat more fruits and vegetables.
?Power Up with Exercise: Young people need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity each day to maintain good health. In this workshop, students will learn to move more and sit less by participating in fun physical activities.
?Eating Healthy - the SMART way: Students learn even more about healthy dietary habits and setting goals utilizing the SMART - Small. Measurable. Appropriate. Realistic. Timely. - system.

The curriculum for the workshop is designed to address seven New Mexico Public Education Department health education content standards, benchmarks and performance standards.

This is the second year the Just Be It! is being offered to the three-county area schools. Last year 900 students from four school districts participated.

"Last year the students demonstrated an 11 percent increase in their knowledge about nutrition after attending the workshop," Del Campo said.

Each student participating in the field trip will receive a student-parent handout containing information and activities to reinforce the workshop topics, including recipes, games and exercise log. Each class that participates will receive an exercise kit containing a fun activity instruction book, jump ropes, Frisbees, exercise bands and hula hoops once the teacher completes the program evaluation process.

As part of a five-year grant, NMSU Extension home economists will work with selected classes to provide further education through the remainder of the school year.

"We will be working with teachers and parents, as well as the children, to increase the number of servings of vegetables and fruits that they eat, and to increase their participation in physical activity," said Campo "We are hoping that this curriculum will be successful in increasing the students' retention of nutrition information and will be used statewide."

For more information: Los Alamos, Paula Roybal Sanchez, 505-662-2656, paulas@nmsu.edu ; Rio Arriba County, Desaree Whitfield-Jimenez, 505-685-4523, deswhitf@nmsu.edu ; Santa Fe County, Jacqueline S. Baca, 505-471-4711, jhange@nmsu.edu

Mary Benanti
Sept. 15, 2006