4-H Healthy Living Programs Expand with $2 Million Gift from the Walmart Foundation

May 02, 2013, 09:30 ET from National 4-H Council

CHEVY CHASE, Md., May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Walmart Foundation announced its continued support of 4-H Healthy Living programs with a new $2 million donation to expand the Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program. This new gift will allow the Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program to expand its reach from 15 to 21 states across the nation, reaching nearly 75,000 at-risk youth and their families with interactive education about nutrition and food security challenges. The Walmart Foundation has been a strong supporter of 4-H Healthy Living programs for several years having granted $4.3 million to 4-H since 2009.

According to the Child Trends Data Bank, child-aged food insecurity is associated with a greater risk for being overweight. Food insecurity can result in lower diet quality and less variety, both of which can contribute to being overweight and nutritionally deprived. Evaluation results from the 2011-2012 Youth Voice: Youth Choice program years show that participating young people reported a higher understanding of nutrition and physical activity knowledge and an increased active use of that knowledge. Additionally, participants' attitudes towards nutrition and physical activity became more positive and young people showed an improved ability to make healthy food choices, even in food insecure settings.

"The Walmart Foundation has been a committed partner to 4-H in the fight to help youth live better, healthier lives," said Donald T. Floyd Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO.  "Food insecurity and poor nutritional choices pose numerous potentially damaging risks, including delayed cognitive development in children and chronic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. The Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program provides youth with the opportunity to take the lead to actively address these issues with their families, peers and their communities, resulting in a significant positive health impact."

Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice programs in each state will engage young people and their parents by focusing on forming healthy eating habits based on the "My Plate" dietary guidelines provided by the USDA.  Programs in several states will also include developing community gardens, an effort to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and allow members of the community to learn first-hand about the benefits and nutritional properties of certain foods.

"Through the 4-H Healthy Living Program, thousands of youth in states throughout the country will gain access to information and experiences designed to help them make positive nutrition choices and live a healthy life," said Karrie Denniston, director of the Walmart Foundation. "The tools provided by 4-H will engage not only the participants and their families in healthy eating, but will also have an overall positive impact on the communities where they live."

This generous gift will support 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice in 21 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia. 4-H's placement within NIFA, an agency of USDA, and unique program delivery via the Cooperative Extension System at the nation's 109 land-grant universities offers a unique matrix of connections and collaborations to help address issues of nutrition, physical fitness, obesity and food insecurity among America's young people.

For more information on 4-H Healthy Living programs, please visit www.4-H.org.

About 4-H:

4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant colleges and universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their local Extension offices. 4-H programs are further supported by 514,000 dedicated adult volunteers around the nation who help to put 4-H youth on a path towards successful careers. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart 

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief and Nutrition, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than one billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.

SOURCE National 4-H Council