Woodward, Okla. —
Kindergarten students at the ECC participated in the "Farm to You" interactive walk through display Feb 7.
Communications Specialist Trisha Gedon with the Agricultural Communications Services explained that Farm to You is a collaborative effort of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, OSU Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State Department of Health, and Southwest Dairy Farms to educate children on the relationship between agriculture, food, and health.
"Since August of 2008, the exhibit has taught more than 65,000 elementary students about agriculture, nutrition, physical activity, and health in 68 counties," Gedon said.
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service nutrition specialist Deana Hildebrand said, "Eating habits and lifestyle practices develop early in life, so it's important to promote a healthy lifestyle at an early age. The Farm to You exhibit does just that."
Hildebrand explained that most kindergarten through 6th graders don't normally consume enough fruits, vegetables, milk or dairy foods. She said these poor eating habits, combined with excessive caloric intake and a low physical activity level, often contribute to childhood obesity and ill health.
"Being overweight as a child increases the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life," Hildebrand said.
So not only do learning about healthier options help children to feel better now, but it also helps them to have healthier lives later on, she said.
To educate children on where their food comes from and how it affects their health, the Farm to You exhibit has 9 stations: Cheeseburger Farm and To Market where they learn about where food comes from on the farm; Healthy Cool Cafe where they learn about the different food groups and proportions they need; Mouth where they learn about dental care; and finally Stomach, Small Intestine, Muscle, Bone, and Skin where they learn about how the foods they eat affect those specific parts of their bodies.
For more information about Farm to You, visit farmtoyou.okstate.edu.