- Author: Marcel Horowitz
- Author: Dorina M Espinoza
- Author: Anne Iaccopucci
Participation in California 4-H physical, social and emotional health programming increased 550% since 2009, and 74% of California 4-H youth report having a health-related growth mindset.
California youth face increasing challenges to their social, emotional and physical health. Threats to children's physical health include obesity (28.9%), inactivity (76%), inadequate sleep (85%), and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (63%). Social and emotional health is threatened by persistent feelings of sadness (32%), school bullying (28%), and cyberbullying (14%).
How UC Delivers
Following the national mission mandate in 2010, California 4-H formed a statewide Healthy Living Advisory Committee.
Over the past nine years, California 4-H has:
- Increased healthy living project participation by 550%
- Developed five new programs targeting social-emotional needs and four new programs addressing physical needs
- Adopted a 4-H Water Policy
- Trained volunteers in Youth Mental Health First Aid
- Trained 127 youth as Healthy Living Leaders in 2018
- Provided health-focused expertise, guidance, and education to local, regional, and national groups
- Developed an online repository of health-focused resources for educators
- Integrated healthy living education into camp programming, state field days, state leaders conferences, and 4-H Thrive leadership trainings
“I think mentally [4-H's Mindfulness camp] truly changed my mindset completely on my life and how I take care of my body as well as taking care of the people around me. And now continuing some of the techniques learned at the camp, I think I have become significantly happier with my life.” -- 2018 Mindfulness camp youth participant
Seventy four percent of 4-H youth report having a health-related growth mindset: 75% report getting adequate sleep; 83% report eating breakfast, 85% report eating family meals, and 73% pay attention to water intake.
Further, 90% of youth report encouraging friends to make responsible choices. Youth report aversion to engaging in risky behaviors such as texting and driving (96%), riding a bike without a helmet (78%), not wearing a seatbelt (96%), and someone their age drinking alcohol (97%), smoking (99%), or taking drugs (98%).
4-Her's report positive food preparation skills such as following a recipe (82%), using measuring equipment (90%), knife safety (91%), heat safety (87%), and cleanliness (75%). In all of these ways, UC ANR improves health for all as well as community health and wellness, contributing to the public value of promoting healthy people and communities.
As the California 4-H Healthy Living Advisory Committee enters its tenth year, the team continues to prioritize emerging challenges. With anxiety, attention deficits, stress, and suicide on the rise, a continued focus on addressing these issues with new curriculum and training will be prioritized. Seeking additional opportunities for cross-program integration with other UC ANR statewide programs like CalFresh Healthy Living, UC will further help to address poor nutrition and physical inactivity concerns. Staff and volunteer development will strengthen all 4-H programs so that adequate sleep, time outdoors, and social interactions are woven into existing programming./h3>/h3>/span>/h3>/h3>