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Iowa Students Unleash Super Powers to Promote Physical Activity, Healthy Foods

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 General News J E 4
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ANKENY, Iowa, Dec. 22 "If the words exercise, wellness, and healthy eating scare you, have no fear! With your superpowers defeating the evil laziness and junk food, achieving wellness will be fun and easy!" wrote Kirsten Arneson, an essay winner from St. Benedict's School in Decorah. "Choosing a cookie or chips over a healthy snack might seem tempting, but you must use your superpowers to choose the better of the two," Arneson challenged.



Two Iowa youth are winners in the "How my super-powers will inspire my friends to choose more nutritious foods and participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day" essay, sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Council and Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids. "We have to teach our youth the importance of eating healthy and being physically active. We need to do it in a way that engages them, motivates them and captures their imagination," says Carrie Scheidel, School Nutrition Program Manager for the Midwest Dairy Council. "The best motivators for students to lead a healthy lifestyle are their peers."



The other winning essay, written by Kasey Leuang from Weeks Middle School in Des Moines, featured a super hero named Fitorus Fun. Fitorus used his brain powers to make fun fitness games and his cooking powers to make low calorie treats. He helped everyone in fit town commit to sixty minutes of fun fit time everyday!



Essays were submitted by middle school students throughout the state of Iowa. The essay contest was open to schools who participated at the Super-Power Summit, a day-long wellness activation event on Oct. 22 in Des Moines. Participants were challenged to unleash their super-powers, and this essay allowed them to share how they plan to help their peers adopt healthier behaviors. The essay winners were each awarded four NFL game tickets, plus travel expenses.



Common themes from all entries ranged from creating a fitness town, full of healthy, active residents; organizing games of kick the can, four square, and basketball; hosting health fairs at school; distributing healthy snacks; and using their power of persuasion and leading by example to help friends defeat those evil unhealthy habits that many of us have developed.



The essay contest is part of a larger initiative of the Midwest Dairy Council. The initiative seeks to empower youth by partnering with them to choose more nutritious foods including low-fat and fat-free dairy products, whole grains, fruits and vegetables; get 60 minutes of physical activity each day; and motivate their friends to the do the same.



About Midwest Dairy Council

Midwest Dairy Council is the nutrition education division of Midwest Dairy Association. The Council's mission is to promote a healthy diet through nutrition education and the use of dairy products to consumers, health professionals and teachers. Midwest Dairy Council is funded by checkoff dollars from dairy producers in our local region. For more information, visit www.midwestdairy.com.



About Iowa Action for Healthy Kids

Action for Healthy Kids is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the epidemic of overweight, undernourished and sedentary youth by focusing on changes in schools. They do work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to improve children's nutrition and increase physical activity, which will in turn improve their readiness to learn. For more information visit: www.actionforhealthykids.org.



SOURCE Midwest Dairy Council
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