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100,000 4-H Members Expected to Complete the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making a significant commitment to participating in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge, aiming to have 100,000 4-H members complete the challenge by September 2011. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke today to 300 children and adults at the 2011 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md. He recognized the positive influence 4-H membership and programs have in communities throughout the country and encouraged all attendees to make healthy choices.

“Healthy living has been a fundamental principle of 4-H as members ‘pledge their health to better living,’” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA has long been committed to nutrition and healthy living, and I’m looking forward to seeing many 4-H’ers helping us meet – or exceed – our goal. As tomorrow’s leaders, 4-H members have an important role to play in winning the future, starting with a commitment to healthy living.”

4-H strives to equip young people with the knowledge and skills for healthy living that will prepare them physically, emotionally and socially to meet the challenges of the 21st century. 4-H initially committed to this goal during the November 29, 2010, roll-out of the Let’s Move! Faith and Communities Initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama.

4-H is making this goal a top priority. National 4-H Council and Kraft Foods are offering incentives for each county that sponsors 4-H to encourage local young people to pursue the award. Additionally, during April and May, employees from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the parent organization to 4-H National Headquarters, will participate with 4-H members, families and volunteers.

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award recognizes those who log their recommended physical activity for six consecutive weeks, five days a week (60 minutes for kids, 30 minutes for adults). More information about the program and how to get involved is available at http://www.presidentschallenge.org/natl4-H. Let’s Move! is the First Lady’s initiative to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation. Let’s Move! Faith and Communities is designed to support local efforts and highlight accomplishments in communities across the country. The program looks to work with community leaders, learn from what they are doing in neighborhoods, and share those efforts as broadly as possible.

4-H National Headquarters seeks to promote positive youth development, facilitate learning and engage young people with the efforts of USDA and the land-grant universities to enhance quality of life. Nearly 6 million young people, ages 5-19, participate in 4-H youth development programs in all 50 states, territories and military installations worldwide.  More information is available at www.national4-hheadquarters.gov.      

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).