Soccer, Scout and 4-H programs rally around healthy snacks

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PARIS — Katy Duval of Gray, leader of a 4-H group that meets in South Paris, is one of several community leaders in Maine who is participating in the Snack it Up Program, created by Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University.

This pilot program is being run in collaboration with Hannaford Supermarkets and supported by Newman’s Own Foundation and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

There are a total of eight participating groups in Maine, 16 in new England.

According to a press release from Snack it Up, research indicates that unhealthy snacks have contributed to the rise in childhood obesity rates in the U.S., which have more than doubled in the past three decades.

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The goal of this New England program is to serve healthy snacks at meetings and practices by offering a discount on fruits and vegetables at Hannaford Supermarkets.

“The pilot sounded like a really good opportunity for me as a club leader to expose my kids to fruits and vegetables that we might not usually be able to purchase,” Duval said. “The kids have reacted really well to the healthy snacks that we’ve been serving.”

Coaches and program leaders who are interested in creating a similar collaboration with their own local grocery stores can download a free toolkit at HealthyKidsHub.org/SnackItUp.

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