Spinach artichoke dip with multigrain bread, corn salad with lime vinaigrette, taco roll ups and fruit kabobs are not teenagers’ usual lunch fare. But thanks to a new summer day camp called Health Matters, Athens-Clarke County teens and their parents now have a taste for healthy and nutritious foods.
As part of the ongoing effort to encourage healthier lifestyles among local residents, UGA Extension partnered with Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services and Athens Regional Health System to coordinate the camp this summer.
The program, which ran for six weeks, addressed a host of health and nutrition topics facing teens and adults alike.
The camp promoted different types of healthful food options and physical activities to children 11 to 14 to help them take responsibility for their own nutrition and fitness.
“We wanted to show campers you can incorporate physical activity and good eating habits into your routine in ways that are fun,” said Leslie Trier, program specialist with Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services. “An active lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean that you play a competitive sport or that you follow a strict diet, although it can include those things.”
The UGA Obesity Initiative pledged five tuition scholarships to attend the Health Matters Camp.
“These funds made it possible to recruit at-risk youth who could not afford the registration fees and otherwise would not have benefited from the program,” said Judy Hibbs, UGA Obesity Initiative member and Extension coordinator.
Athens Regional Health System matched the UGA Obesity Initiative’s contribution, totaling 10 scholarships.
Physical activities included different types of team and individual sports ranging from volleyball and tennis to yoga and swimming.
In the classroom, campers learned about portion size, food safety and how to read food labels among other things. The group took field trips to local eateries, where they learned how to make sensible menu choices.
Education extended to parents who attended weekly classes addressing topics such as cost-effective meal preparation and quick and easy nutritional foods.
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