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UCCE launches Northern California obesity study, 'Naturalist' program

Access to clean, cold water helps create a healthy school environment.
UC Cooperative Extension nutrition researchers are in the process of selecting five schools each from Shasta and Butte counties to pilot a nutrition and extension program that university researchers will study to learn how to motivate kids to choose healthy habits, the Redding Record Searchlight reported.

The project is funded with a $500,000 grant from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

"We are going to support the school(s) to develop a stronger wellness program that rewards healthy eating and physical activity," said Concepción Mendoza, UCCE advisor in Shasta County, nutrition, family and consumer sciences.

UC Cooperative Extension specialist Patricia Crawford, nutrition, told reporter Joe Szydiowski that people's palettes depend on four criteria: easy to get, cheap, tastes good, and heavily advertised.

Those combine to provide a strong push for people to eat unhealthy food.

"We have to go against the forces to reach out and get foods that will make us healthy," she said. One of the best ways to do that, Crawford said, is by providing students with easy access to cold, clean water.

The program could be extended to the state and national level if it's successful after the two years of study.

UCCE offers 'California Naturalist' program in Truckee

Aspiring naturalists may enroll in a 40-hour course this summer at UC Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee to receive classroom and field training in science, problem-solving, communication and community service, according to the Sierra Sun.

The 'California Naturalist' course fee of $350 includes course instruction, a PDF textbook, graduation certificate, website support and registration as a UC "California Naturalist."

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM

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