About 4‑H Healthy Habits

Through 4‑H Healthy Habits, an innovative and culturally-relevant program, kids build healthy habits with a core focus on nutrition and food preparation skills, while also learning the importance of physical activity and social-emotional wellness. 4‑H Healthy Habits is driven by Teen Healthy Living ambassadors who assist in delivering healthy living programming to younger youth. Kids learn skills from the teens they look up to, while the teens develop their leadership skills through teaching.

Impact of 4‑H Healthy Habits

Since 2012, 4‑H and the Walmart Foundation have partnered to reach a million youth and their families with nutrition education and physical activity, with an intentional focus on populations who face challenges in achieving positive health outcomes. The program launched in 2012 with 15 pilot states reaching more than 30,000 youth. It has now expanded to 34 states reaching 120,000 youth in addition to their 80,000 family members for a total reach of 200,000.

A recent survey shows that involvement in this program impacts choices kids are making about their health. Among youth participants, 89 percent report through 4‑H Healthy Habits they learned about how to make healthy choices.

State Spotlight

Oklahoma 4‑H’s Clover Buddies program allows Oklahoma 4‑H’ers with special needs to take part in the Special Clovers CampBlast Off to Better Health. Clover Buddies are older 4‑H’ers who go through a selection process followed by special training. When camp starts, the Clover Buddies are paired with a camper to assist them with all aspects of camp. While at camp, campers take part in a wide variety of activities, including painting, yoga, gardening and 9-square.

This year, Michigan 4‑H is piloting a new healthy habits focus on mental health. It established partnerships with local community mental health agencies and high schools to offer a 4‑H SPIN (Special Interest) club that focuses on depression and anxiety. The club is designed to teach teens the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety through the curriculum Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health. Teens learn about the importance of exercising and a balanced diet in mental health and how to assist their peers who may need resources or action if someone is in a crisis.

Curriculum & Additional Resources

Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF) is an award-winning, research-based nutrition and fitness curriculum composed of six hands-on lessons for 8-12-year-olds (3rd-6th graders).

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iCook 4‑H is a program about cooking, eating and playing together for 9-10 year old youth and the adult who prepares their meals. It is designed for out-of-school settings with the goal of promoting healthful lifestyles.

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Cooking 101, 201, 301, 401

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EM: Get Experience in Mindfulness is an Awareness and Acceptance Stress Management Program for ages 10 and up – adults too! This program places an emphasis on stress management taught through practical and interactive mindfulness-based activities to facilitate experiential learning. The program is a research based and theory driven program that meets National Health Education Standards.

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What does mental health really mean? How many people are affected by mental health issues such as anxiety and depression? Be part of the solution by learning the answers to those questions and more. Intended for advanced-level youth who are interested in learning more about mental health, why it is important to overall well-being, and steps that promote understanding and action.

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Up for the Challenge: Lifetime Fitness, Healthy Decisions / is a fitness, nutrition and health curriculum for school-aged, middle school and teen youth. It was written for military afterschool programs but is easily adaptable to any afterschool or 4‑H club setting.

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C-A-R Chat – Communication, Awareness and Respect

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Created by teachers, this multifaceted garden, nutrition, and physical activities curriculum is evidence-based and academically rich. Through a linear set of hands-on, proven lessons, youth will better understand plants and how plants provide for people’s needs. The 10-week (2 lessons/week) unit of study will step a class or youth group through process of establishing a thriving garden that is easy to create and maintain.

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