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Healthy Kids Georgia holds design contest to promote health By April Reese Sorrow

Public elementary school students are being challenged by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to get healthy. The Healthy Kids Georgia program invites all Georgia public elementary schools to participate in the BOOKMARK 4 HEALTH! contest, which is held in collaboration with Scholastic, Inc., Georgia 4-H and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Three Georgia elementary schools will win a 250-book collection of educational health and wellness books for the school library.

“As Lt. Governor, I am gravely concerned about the ever growing childhood obesity epidemic. With Georgia having the second highest childhood obesity rates in the nation, it is high time for us to reverse these troubling trends,” Cagle said. “By incentivizing our schools and our children in fun, new ways that support health education and reading comprehension, I am proud to encourage Georgia’s elementary schools to participate in this educational contest.”

Entering is easy. Teachers are asked to bring Georgia Health Education Performance Standards to life by encouraging students to set a goal for healthy living and advocate for others to be healthy. After educators teach a health-and-wellness lesson, students are asked to create a two-sided bookmark depicting, “Be the Healthiest You Can Be” and “My School Helps us Eat Healthy and Be Active.” Each school can submit three bookmarks.

"Georgia 4-H will play an integral role throughout the entirety of the contest,” said Richie Knight, program specialist for 4-H Health Rocks with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. “Beyond providing supplemental curriculum, local Cooperative Extension offices will serve as collection points for school entries.”

To locate your local UGA Extension office visit www.extension.uga.edu or call 1-800-ASK-UGA1. Entries are due to local 4-H representatives by Feb. 1, 2012. Winners will be announced at the second annual Be Healthy! Georgia day at the Capitol set for March 10, 2012.

"We are thrilled to form such a dynamic partnership with the Lt. Governor's Healthy Kids Georgia Program,” Knight said. “Like Georgia 4-H, Lt. Governor Cagle is truly passionate about the youth of Georgia and seeing true healthy lifestyle changes. We could not ask for a better representative of our 4-H Healthy Living Mission Mandate. Through that mandate, 4-H efforts engage youth and families through access and opportunities to achieve optimal physical, social, and emotional well-being."

Cagle launched the Lt. Governor’s Healthy Kids Georgia in August of 2010. This initiative is a voluntary program that brings schools, communities, parents and teachers together to transform schools into environments that promote healthy eating habits and physical activity.

For more information about the contest, visit www.Bookmark4Health.org.

(April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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