Steps to Well being applications a approach for a wholesome life for younger individuals within the district

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) serves individuals and families with limited resources across the country, including here in Richmond County! SNAP-Ed is funded by the US Department of Agriculture for Food and Nutrition and works in North Carolina with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Services. SNAP-Ed’s goal is to help those eligible for food aid to eat smart and exercise more. SNAP-Ed helps attendees make healthy decisions within a limited budget and choose a physically active lifestyle that complies with current American dietary guidelines and MyPlate.

North Carolina State University’s SNAP-Ed project is called Steps to Health. Richmond County youth attending East Rockingham Elementary School and third grade have benefited from this program for three years. In this 9 week program, students will learn the basics of nutrition like the different food groups, how much of each food group to consume on a daily basis, how to read a nutrition label, and much more! During each 30-minute session, the teenagers are encouraged to drink water and exercise. The goal of the program is to encourage these healthy habits to spread and become a natural part of the children’s lifestyle so that they can choose healthy foods and get more exercise even after the session is over. Students are given take-away sheets that will teach the whole family and include a recipe to try at home.

The Steps to Health deployment is a collaboration between Richmond County 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Science Agents and Richmond County Schools. This is the first year the program has been run virtually and while it looks a little different, the effects and results are the same, if not better. Teacher Emily Danner shares, “My students love this program so much that they just love it! We look forward to this course every week. “Data is still being collected for this year, but reports from the past two years show over 100 students say they drink more water because of the program, and 94% of students tried a new meal or recipe.

4-H is a youth development organization that cares for teenagers aged 5-18 and focuses on developing healthy habits, life skills and developing teenagers into competent adults. For more information on Steps to Health or other SNAP-Ed programs serving young people in Richmond County, please contact 4-H Agent Catherine Shelley at 910-417-0258 or [email protected]

Catherine Shelley is the 4-H Agent for the Richmond County Cooperative Extension.

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