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July 23, 2014

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Nutrition program gets national grant

All 4 Kids, a preschool nutrition program run by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Silverado, has recently been given the opportunity to prove its effectiveness.

The program was one of four selected nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service to receive a $100,000 grant.

The money will be used to conduct an in-depth study to determine the effectiveness of the methods used by the program.

All 4 Kids, which was launched in 2007, aims to teach preschool-age children and their teachers and parents the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity.

The 12-week course is conducted in child care centers that focus on lower-income preschoolers across Southern Nevada, including local Head Start programs.

The extension's Early Care and Education Specialist Teresa Byington, who works with the All 4 Kids program, said the children in the program get a backpack full of activities each week that promote physical fitness that they can take home and do with their parents.

The children have a physical fitness move of the day as well as learn dances that are performed for the parents, she said.

"We chose to teach dancing because it's a life long skill," she said.

The grant that will permit the program to be studied is part of the USDA's goal of getting participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to eat healthier.

The childcare centers that will be part of the study, which begins in March 2010, are those that are in the most densely populated areas of Food Stamp recipients in Southern Nevada.

Among the 12 locations that will be part of the study is the Head Start Program at 180 N. Westminister Way in Henderson.

The study will add an in-depth evaluation and validity to what All 4 Kids is doing, Byington said.

"We feel we have a great program and we're excited to be able to demonstrate it's effective. The bottom line is, it's allowing families and children to be healthier," she said.

Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].

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