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Making the healthy choice the easy choice
Date:10/4/2011

COLUMBIA, Mo. It is no secret that Americans are facing an obesity epidemic, exacerbated by high consumption of unhealthy foods and too little physical activity. According to the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. does not produce or import enough fruits and vegetables for Americans to consume the recommended daily amount. Now, a national grant has allowed University of Missouri Extension to expand two projects that promote healthy diets and physical activity for Missourians.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds the Missouri Farm to Institution Project, designed to provide tools and support to schools, hospitals and other institutions that use locally grown produce in their cafeterias. The grant also funds Livable Streets, a program aimed at educating citizens to advocate for "livable or complete streets" or those that are safe for all modes of transportation, including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

"We are trying to change policies and environments to make healthy choices easier for Missourians," said Donna Mehrle, extension associate in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. "The goal is to give citizens access to nutritious foods and safe environments that promote physical activity."

The Missouri Farm to School/Farm to Institution Project connects schools and institutions with local farmers and distributors and supports the institutions as they implement programs for purchasing and serving locally grown produce. The support includes a food service guide that provides information about buying produce in season to get the best price and advice on storing and preparing fresh produce.

"Along with the added nutritional bonus of eating fresh foods, Missouri Farm to School is a way to educate students about how food is grown and where it comes from, along with putting a face to the food they are eating on a regular basis," said L
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Contact: Samantha Craven
slctw4@mail.missouri.edu
573-882-9144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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