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Healthy Living

The New York State (NYS) 4-H Healthy Living program engages youth and families through hands-on educational activities that promote a culture of health and well-being within a positive youth development framework. Rooted in the ecological model of Urie Bronfenbrenner, our Healthy Living program is a holistic one that emphasizes nutrition and fitness, social-emotional wellness, and prevention of injury.

If you have questions about resources in this area, please reach out to

NYS 4-H Health, Wellness, and Food Systems Specialist Dr. Mingla Charoenmuang.

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Eating a Meal


The Youth Healthy Eating and Active Living Program Work Team (Y-HEAL PWT) meets monthly to discuss current issues or activities in NYS 4-H Healthy Living programs and other CCE youth nutrition efforts, including regular work on creating and/or revising curricular resources. The team combines the unique expertise of CCE-Nutrition and 4-H Healthy Living Educators from around New York State in collaboration with state program leadership. For more information and opportunities for engagement, please email the co-chairs: Mingla Charoenmuang or Kathryn Ripstein.

Learn about other Program Work Teams


Worksite wellness helps us be healthier AND model health and wellness for the youth we work with. This Wellness Policy Assessment and Inquiry Form (complete a Qualtrics Survey) from our colleagues in CCE-Jefferson County can be used to consider establishing or maintaining various types of wellness strategies and approaches in our work and program spaces. It was created through the Adopting Healthy Habits program. Please send any questions to Kathryn Ripstein.

Additional Resources

Cozy Office



CHFFF is a 6-lesson, hands-on, evidence-based curriculum for 3rd-8th graders that targets behaviors shown to reduce unhealthy weight gain & chronic disease. Developed by Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program, CHFFF uses experiential learning to teach healthy eating and active play. CHFFF is used in all U.S. 50 states, primarily in EFNEP, SNAP-Ed, and 4-H. It was also designed to be taught by teens in our companion program Choose Health Action Teens (CHAT), see below. An online version of CHFFF is also available, developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 4-H CHAT, teens are recruited and trained to help teach our Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF) curriculum to younger youth in after-school programs, summer camps and other settings. This initiative is the result of a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program and Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. The program integrates youth civic engagement with efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles by engaging teens in teaching healthy eating and active living to younger youth.

Choose Health Officers highlight the 4th H in 4-H, Health: We pledge…my health to better living) by instituting roll calls tied to an activity, issuing an activity challenge for members with tips on how to reach a healthy activity goal by the next meeting, helping the recreation leader with active games and promoting healthy snacks at club meetings. This effort is supported by 4-H professionals' training via a live and recorded webinar, leader and officer training materials, and research-based and tested evaluation methods.

Additional Resources



Contact the 4-H State Office for more information about NYS 4-H Mindfulness Kits


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a student-centered approach that emphasizes several qualities central to positive youth developmental approaches. These include:

  • students’ strengths

  • experiential, hands-on learning and skill development

  • youth voice and partnership in the learning process

  • positive, caring, and sustained relationships with mentors


We use Social-Emotional Wellness (SEW) as a more holistic term recognizing the complementary relationship between social-emotional health and physical health.

The Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit offers web-based resources to help youth work professionals provide opportunities for social and emotional learning. Resources include manuals, activities, fact sheets, videos, and websites. The Toolkit was assembled by the Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team, a collaboration of Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York State 4-H Youth Development, and external stakeholders.


Guiding Questions for Educators: Promoting Equity Using SEL

Social-Emotional Toolkit (MN Extension)
This toolkit includes activities, templates and tools organized around four ways to help support staff and youth in SEL. It is designed primarily for those working with youth in middle school, but with small changes the activities can be used for other age groups too. 

The Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley
The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. 

Who Am I? Identity Formation in Adolescence (Rachel Sumner, Cornell University, ACT for Youth)

National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments


Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health (The OSU Extension)

What does mental health really mean? How many people are affected by mental health issues such as anxiety and depression? Be part of the solution by learning the answers to those questions and more. Intended for advanced-level youth who are interested in learning more about mental health, why it is important to overall well-being, and steps that promote understanding and action.
We are a platform for all youth to come together & be heard in a safe, positive environment. We focus on mental health & wellness, harnessing peer connections as a source of strength. Our online content lies in video responses & blog posts by youth, for youth. 

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. Each training is 8.5 hours, and options throughout New York state can be found here.




Highlighted Resources


Primary Care Provider & General Mental Health Organizations



Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. Choose My Plate offers ideas, tips, and recipes to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health.

Food Hero

Visit Oregon State University's Food Hero website to learn how to budget for, plan and create countless healthy, super tasty meals.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities. 

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. We believe America can become a nation where getting healthy, staying healthy, and making sure our children grow up healthy are top priorities. We have a vision of an America where we all strive together to build a national Culture of Health that enables all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.

Cornell NutritionWorks

From Cornell University's Division of Nutritional Science, NutrionWorks helps you to stay up to date on nutrition topics, interact directly with Cornell experts, communicate with other practitioners, and earn continuing education credit, instantly online. 

Healthy Food Access Portal

The Healthy Food Access Portal harnesses a vast array of data and information to support the successful planning and implementation of policies, programs, and projects to improve access to healthy foods in low-income and communities of color. The Portal is designed to help people access resources related to healthy food access policy efforts, funding opportunities, and successful retail strategies.  Our three organizations selected resources and created content that would appeal to users from diverse backgrounds – community leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials, public health advocates, and economic development practitioners. In so doing, we aim to build and strengthen a community of learning and practice.

Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy

Our Mission is to promote solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias through research and policy. is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies. The site provides the latest information on food safety, recalls, and food poisoning.

When making decisions about your health, it’s important to know where to go to get the latest, most reliable information. has resources on a wide range of health topics selected from approximately 1,400 government and non-profit organizations to bring you the best, most reliable health information on the Internet.

National Institutes of Health's Web site provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in understandable language. Offers reliable, up-to-date health information and research for free.

Youth Mental Health Project
National Institute of Mental Health
Mental Health America
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