ORANGE COUNTY EXTENSION HEALTHY LIVING EXPO: KID’S ZONE Souers, M, UF/IFAS Extension, Orange County, Orlando, FL.
Situation/Objectives: Statistics show that youth obesity and health issues such as diabetes are a growing problem across the U.S. (CDC, Healthy Schools, 2018). 4-H Healthy Living programs support the effort to change youth eating habits and to provide the skills to grow healthy food in urban environments. The objective of the 4-H “Kid’s Zone” was to increase knowledge regarding nutrition and to encourage families to make better food choices including growing food at home. Methods: Orange County Extension hosted a Healthy Living EXPO through which 4-H offered educational activities designed to encourage healthy meal choices, wise grocery store purchases and growing fresh vegetables at home. 4-H teens served as station leaders guiding children and parents through the activities. Rewards were offered for the number of stations completed and a survey was utilized to gather feedback regarding knowledge gained through participation. Questions included were: Did you complete the station? Did you like it? Did you learn something? Response options for each were a happy face (yes) or a sad face (no). Results: Thirty-nine youth completed the post-participation survey in order to earn rewards. A total of 125 responses from the stations yielded the following results: 85% (n=105) indicated that they had learned something; 10% (n=13) had no response and 5% felt they did not learn something at that station (n=7). Conclusion: Surveys showed that 85% of youth participants learned something new about healthy food choices. Exit surveys of families attending the EXPO indicate that 59% of parents planned to include at least 3 fruits and vegetables in their child’s diet each day. A six month follow-up survey will be conducted with these families to determine if the knowledge gained resulted in the targeted behavior changes.