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For Immediate Release: Nov. 3, 2006
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Power Panther to visit schools, child care centers

WHAT: The “Eat Smart, Play Hard Tour,” featuring a purple panther mascot, will hit schools and child care centers across South Dakota during the month of November. The tour is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Education, Team Nutrition, and Action for Healthy Kids.

Power Panther will promote four basic messages as he tours the state signing “paw-tographs.” These messages include:

• Importance of eating breakfast

• Choosing healthy snacks

• Moving more and sitting less

• Balancing food and play

WHEN: The “Eat Smart, Play Hard Tour” is scheduled to visit approximately 30 school groups in 16 days. Call for a complete schedule.

WHY: Obesity rates among children continue to grow in this country. In South Dakota, 33 percent of students ages 5-19 are considered overweight or at risk for being overweight, according to data from the Department of Health. The goal of this tour is to encourage children and their families to adopt nutritional behaviors that are consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Mary Stadick Smith, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-7228.