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Feature Articles: Eating Well


Eat Smart, Play Hard™  

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD,
Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County
University of Missouri Extension


Eat Smart and Play Hard™ is a nutrition education campaign that was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. The goal of the campaign is to encourage families to eat well utilizing the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid. The other important component is promotion of the importance of being physically active every day.

The Eat Smart, Play Hard Power Panther


The campaign was developed because only 2% of children in America meet all of the recommendations of MyPyramid ( Dietary habits are established early in life. Helping children to establish healthful eating habits is an important life skill that can aid in preventing health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, later in life.


The campaign has four basic themes. Two of the themes revolve around eating healthfully and include promotion of eating breakfast and making wise snack choices. One theme encourages us to balance our food choices with physical activity. The other theme encourages us to be active every day. We all know that we need to be doing all of these things but the campaign encourages us to change our behaviors and actually practice these healthy behaviors consistently.


Breakfast is a part of the campaign because kids do better in school and have increased attention span and memory when they eat breakfast. Children also complain less of headaches and stomach aches from being hungry and miss fewer days of school when breakfast starts their day.


Healthy snacking is promoted in the campaign because snacks can provide important nutrients that contribute to growth and development for children. Including fruits and vegetables at snack time can help children meet their requirements for the day. Less than 20% of children are meeting their daily needs for fruits and vegetables now.


If you would like to learn more about the campaign, go to The web site has brochures with specific ideas to help you adopt healthful behaviors. Or, call Tammy Roberts at the Barton County Extension office at 682-3579.




Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009








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