Mission Valley Elementary School is partnering with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to kick off Walk Across Texas in the spring.

Each class has a goal of walking more than 832 miles in just eight weeks, which is the distance across Texas. The school will be using the Ag Commodities Map, which focuses on identified raised and grown livestock, plants, fruits and vegetables throughout the state. As the students walk across the state, there will be experiential learning to teach the importance of agricultural commodities, healthy eating and active play. Weekly lessons and take-home packets will reinforce the healthy habits taught.

About 30% of adults and 16% of youth are obese in Texas. Obesity risks are associated with eating habits and physical activity.

Individuals who consume safe and healthy foods reduce their risks for contracting a disease. This is especially true in children as eating patterns are learned at a young age.

The Walk Across Texas Program combined with the Ag Commodities Map is a program to help people of all ages establish the habit of regular physical activity and discover agricultural commodity information.

The students will be walking with their classmates during school for eight weeks, in addition to working on their school garden.

Research has shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables provide risk reduction for such diseases as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. When the students look at the diversity of Texas Agriculture, they will see that Texas farmers and ranchers do an outstanding job of contributing healthy foods to consumers of this state.

Mission Valley has seven gardens that they have filled with healthy vegetables. Their winter garden includes swiss chard, cabbage, cilantro, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. A party to taste test the vegetables is being planned.

Mission Valley Elementary School strives to promote healthy lifestyles for its students, staff and community.

Gayle Bludau is the Victoria County Family Community Health Extension Agent Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

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