UW Extension offers team fitness, nutrition competition

            Individuals can form teams and compete against others across the country in the national extension program FitEx to improve fitness and nutrition.

Teams of four to eight ages 5 and up can register free on the FitEx website. Registration at www.fit-ex.org beginsMarch 26.

The team environment and online tracking helps participants achieve goals throughout the April 1-May 27 competition, said Laura Balis, University of Wyoming Extension nutrition and food safety educator.

Teams can set goals and track daily minutes of activities and intake of fruits and vegetables, said Balis. Weekly newsletters, feedback, competition for motivation and prizes for winning teams are part of the program.

Those wanting more information can go to the website or contact Balis at 307-332-2363 or at lbalis@uwyo.edu.

Exercise nutrition, fetal development earn Agricultural Experiment Station research awards

A University of Wyoming professor who is advancing understanding of nutrition’s role in the performance of casual exercisers to elite athletes and an assistant professor who seeks to improve meat quality by investigating prenatal influences in livestock have received research awards from the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES).

“I am always impressed by the quality of nominations we receive for these awards. I also find it interesting that this year’s winners utilize livestock species to study human health, and in both cases, their research has implications for both livestock and humans,” said Bret Hess, associate dean of research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and WAES director. He and dean Frank Galey presented the awards in December in Laramie.

Woman holds giant fake bill as award, flanked by presenters
Bret Hess, associate dean of research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and WAES director; Enette Larson-Meyer, professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and dean Frank Galey

Enette Larson-Meyer of the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics in the Department of Family and Consumer Science earned the Outstanding Research Award for her investigations on how diet and exercise influence skeletal muscle metabolism, energy balance and the prevention of obesity. Her research has explored how nutrition influences the health and performance of active individuals at all stages of life and levels of performance.

She has also explored the influence of vitamin D on health and human performance and increasing the nutritional value of pork and other animal foods through sun exposure.

Larson-Meyer served on the 2011 International Olympic Committee Sports Nutrition Consensus Panel and is active in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine. She is author of the book “Vegetarian Sports Nutrition: Food Choices and Eating Plans for Fitness and Performance.” She joined the University of Wyoming in 2005.

Wei Guo in the Department of Molecular Biology received the Early Career Research Award. A major research focus of the Guo laboratory is fetal programming or how physiological characteristics of the developing fetus can be influenced by environmental events with lasting effects. Guo is studying the life course impact of fetal programming on striated (skeletal) muscle development and function.

Man holds giant fake bill as award, flanked by presenters
Frank Galey, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Wei Guo, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, and Bret Hess, associate dean of research and Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station director.

His long-term goals are to develop therapeutic strategies for striated muscle diseases and improve meat quality and quantity in livestock. His program has attracted more than a $1 million from funding organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association. Guo joined the University of Wyoming in 2013.

For more information, contact Hess at 307-766-3667 or brethess@uwyo.edu.

Wind River efforts prompt Educator of the Year award

Cent$ible Nutrition Program educator Kelly Pingree
Kelly Pingree

Cent$ible Nutrition Program educator Kelly Pingree has been recognized with the program’s Educator of the Year award.

Pingree, who serves the Wind River Indian Reservation, received the honor in December during the University of Wyoming Extension’s training conference on the Laramie campus.

CNP director Mindy Meuli said Pingree’s program had 79 graduates and a 44 percent increase in participant physical activity last year. The CNP curriculum has 17 hands-on lessons.

Meuli said Pingree serves on the Shoshone Cultural Foods project committee, is planning a gardening project in partnership with the Eastern Shoshone 477 Program and has helped with a number of policy, system and environmental changes at the Warm Valley Senior Center.

CNP is funded through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and is a free, income qualifying, cooking and nutrition education program through UW Extension that helps residents eat better for less money.

Are you ready for Real Food?

Real Food logo with hand-drawn look, second O in FOOD is pattern of fruits, vegetables.


UW Extension invites Niobrara and Converse county residents to make their own tortillas, granola, meatballs, and other recipes during the Real Food five-week healthy eating and cooking program in Lusk and Douglas.


The free series starts Tuesday April 18 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds. Classes are 5:30-7:30 p.m. every week through May 16.


The free series starts Wednesday April 19 at the Douglas campus of Eastern Wyoming College. Classes are 5:30-7:30 p.m. every week through May 17.


Participants learn nutrition basics and what healthy eating really means, said Denise Smith, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator. The goal is to get started preparing and eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and local meat and eggs, she said.


Activities cover these and other “Real Food” topics:

  • distinguishing whole foods from processed
  • decoding ingredient lists and embracing nutrition labels
  • avoiding untrue packaging claims
  • planning menus and keeping within a budget.


The program is sponsored by the John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Foundation. For more information, contact Smith at (307) 334-3534 or desmith@uwyo.edu.


UW, Virginia Tech employ team competition to foster nutrition, activity

Laura Balis

Individuals can step-up fitness levels and increase nutrition by competing in a national program through UW Extension and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The team environment and online tracking are meant to spur efforts in the FitEx competition April 2-May 27. Registration is at www.fit-ex.org.

UW and Virginia personnel are challenging each other and all county offices, but competition is open to everyone.

The program offers a chance to start setting goals, having an accountability system and improving health for a better well-being, said Laura Balis, UW

Extension nutrition and food safety educator in Fremont County.

“FitEx’s purpose is promoting healthy lifestyles in a fun, challenging way,” she said. “It’s designed to improve the health of everyone by increasing participation in physical activity and eating fruit and vegetables each week.”

The Surgeon General suggests making walking a national priority, she said. Thirty minutes or more moderate physical activity five days a week and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption are the program goals.

Teams of four to eight from ages 5 to older adults are encouraged.
Choose a team name and captain that best represents the team and create individual and team goals for physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, said Balis. Competitors can track on the FitEx website their daily minutes of physical activity and intake of fruits and vegetables.

The registration fee is $5 and includes weekly newsletters, feedback on goals and friendly competition for motivation, she said.
Contact Balis at 307-332-2363 or at lbalis@uwyo.edu for more information.