Eat Right, Ride Bikes Program Fights Obesity

Feb 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 19-3: Beyond Our Names: Uncovering Identity, Tribal College News

NEW BIKES, BIG SMILES. Hayden Strong Heart (Standing Rock), 9, grade four, demonstrates a new bike from the Eat Right and Ride program. Photo by Dennis Neumann.

Students at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School (TJES) on the campus of United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) now have their own fleet of brand new bicycles. Twenty-five new bikes and helmets were delivered at the beginning of the school year as part of a new program called Eat Right and Ride.

Eat Right and Ride was developed by the college’s USDA Extension Land Grant Department and funded by a $10,000 grant from the General Mills Foundation.

“For these young people, we are connecting the fun of bike riding with being healthy,” says Karen Paetz, UTTC Land Grant Programs director. “We will teach about nutrition and physical activity. It’s all aimed at countering the trend that shows American Indian youngsters are disproportionately affected by obesity, diabetes, and suicide.”

UTTC is one of 50 community-based organizations or schools across the country that received General Mills grants totaling $500,000 to support innovative youth nutrition and fitness programs. The grant is part of the General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids Program, a partnership of General Mills, the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

On the day the bikes were delivered, Officer Mark Keller of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department provided bike safety instruction to the TJES students. SuAnn Schmitz, nutrition coordinator, UTTC-USDA extension land grant programs, emphasized eating right and physical activity.

The youngsters will be able to ride the bikes by checking them out from the college’s Strengthening Lifestyle program located in the campus wellness center. According to TJES Principal Sam Azure, 207 students attend the school. It is the highest attendance the school has recorded since opening in 1971.

For more information, contact Sam Azure, principal, Theodore Jamerson Elementary School, (701) 255-3285 x 1304, or SuAnn Schmitz, nutrition coordinator, UTTC-USDA Extension Land Grant Program, x 1397 or

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