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Families urged to jump-start a healthy summer with 4-H and Walmart

MARSHALL, ILL. –Rural communities, minorities, and other underserved communities are at a higher risk of being affected by food insecurity and nutritional deficiency. Summer is a great time for all families to set new goals to eat healthier and exercise more as part of the 4-H Healthy Habits program developed by the National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.

Locally, Illinois Extension is offering the Healthy Habits 12-Day Challenge to encourage families to take action to improve physical and dietary choices.   

“The commitment of two weeks in June can have your family eating healthier, being more active and mindful, and feeling a greater sense of connection,” says Susan Sloop, 4-H educator, University of Illinois Extension.

Sloop, who is the facilitator of this program, says the 12-day challenge is designed for youth ages 8-13 and their families. Using the proven influence of young people, this challenge employs Teens as Teachers to educate their peers and families. Each lesson will include a mindful activity to facilitate being present in the moment, a physical activity to promote a healthy habit, and a kitchen activity to teach a skill or nutritional tip.

The challenge will kick off on June 14 with a live virtual welcome and mini-lesson, followed by 9 daily activities completed at a family’s own pace, and ending with a virtual celebration. Families will log their participation for points that can be turned in for prizes. The 12-day challenge will conclude on June 25.

Families who register will receive a free kitchen essentials kit in the mail prior to the challenge. The program is free, but you must register by June 3 at

If you will need reasonable accommodation in order to participate, please email Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

SOURCE: Susan Sloop, University of Illinois Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development

WRITER: Darra Walker, Publicity-Promotion Associate, University of Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois  Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.