Eating healthily and being physically active are two of the most important health behaviors for preventing obesity and related chronic diseases. In California, over 40 percent of 5th graders are overweight or obese and California spends over $52 billion annually in healthcare costs associated with obesity. Youth in low-income and minority communities face greater barriers to maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity. There is strong evidence that participation in high-quality positive youth development programming decreases the incidence of risk behaviors, improves school achievement, and increases a sense of personal efficacy and empathy in youth. Historically, however, youth of color have been less likely to participate in positive youth development programming like 4-H.
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