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NDSU Extension Service, Published October 09 2009

'Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together' wins national recognition

FARGO - The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences has awarded North Dakota State University's "Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together" program the 2009 Marketing Package Award.

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service food and nutrition specialist, accepted the award at the association's awards banquet in Birmingham, Ala., in September.

The NDSU Extension Service and Bison Athletics launched the statewide "Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together" campaign in 2005. The program has used a variety of role models, such as Bison athletes, North Dakota Governor's School youth and Miss North Dakota, to increase awareness of the importance of nutrition and fitness for families.

The program includes a video featuring Thundar, the Bison mascot; 4-H club recognition program; poster contests for kids; classroom lessons for kids; newsletters for parents; a Web page (http://www.ndsu.edu/eatsmart); a Facebook page; and the Eat Smart. Play Hard. Together magazine that taps into the expertise of NDSU faculty and contains information to help families lead more healthful, active lives.

"Child obesity continues to be an issue in the U.S., and we believe this program is making a difference in promoting healthy eating and physical activity among children and families throughout North Dakota," Garden-Robinson said. "Troy Goergen of Bison Athletics has been a great partner in helping coordinate the efforts, and I was excited and encouraged to accept the award on behalf of the program."

The program also has reached families through posters, billboards, bookmarks, radio public service announcements featuring Bison athletes, pocket folders, T-shirts, bracelets, backpacks, an "Eat Lunch With the Bison" radio contest, memo boards, temporary tattoos, a carnival during basketball games and pencils imprinted with the Web site and "Eat Smart. Play Hard." message.

"The 'Eat Smart. Play Hard." campaign is critical in educating children, parents and caregivers on eating healthy and being physically active every day," said NDSU President Joseph Chapman. "The resources and tools offered by the program clearly are helping make America's children healthier."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the NDSU Development Foundation, Healthy North Dakota Initiative, Midwest Dairy Association, Northarvest Bean Growers, Northern Pulse Growers Association, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction - Child Nutrition and Food Distribution, North Dakota Beef Commission, North Dakota Nutrition Council, North Dakota Wheat Commission, North Dakota School Nutrition Association, Northern Canola Growers Association and Northern Plains Potato Growers Association are helping sponsor the program in 2009-10.

"Eat Smart. Play Hard." is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service initiative of the same name.