University of Tennessee-Knoxville gets nearly $5 million to tell students to 'fruve' themselves

  • The Department of Agriculture is giving three grants totaling $5 million to develop childhood anti-obesity programs.
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville program, "Fruved," received nearly $4.9 million.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) will get nearly $5 million in federal grant money to tell students to “get fruved.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving UTK a $4,887,083 grant to develop a healthy-eating campaign, Fruved, which “uses a non-diet approach to weight management.”

“Nothing to see here, yet. You can go Fruve yourself.”   

“Students will address behaviors include healthy eating, physical activity, managing stress, emotional well-being, and maintaining positive social systems. The students will be advocates for environmental change on their campus to support these positive health behaviors,” according to the campaign’s website.

The campaign consists of five different teams—Spinach, Carrot, Banana, Grapes, and Tomato—led by costumed mascots. Student groups will be responsible for a large portion of the campaign, including art, slogans, marketing, and events.

Watch: “Get Fruved! Grape style!”

Though some of the videos date back to 2011, pages of the campaign’s website are not yet complete.

“Nothing to see here, yet,” reads one page. “You can go Fruve yourself.”

Two other schools will also receive grants: Tufts University in Boston, Mass. will receive $149,988 for its CHOMPS Pilot Project, which aims to “promote healthy snack options among adolescents in convenience stores,” and Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, N.C. will receive $150,000 for an initiative to “10-12 year-old children from low income families.”

Fruved’s social marketing campaign will be spearheaded by 4-H groups from around the country; after the campaign has been implemented, these groups will work with 4-H groups on high school and middle school campuses to create similar campaigns for those age groups.

Fruved’s name comes from a portmanteau of “fruits and vegetables.”

UPDATE: UTK released a statement Wednesday clarifying that the videos from 2011 were part of a week-long pilot program for the campaign. Furthermore, the university will "distribute the grant funds over a five-year period to 13 other universities to help university and high school students create interventions promoting health."

"Videos will be a very small portion of the campaign," according to the statement.

Via CNS News.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SterlingCBeard

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Sterling Beard | Director of Journalism Training

Sterling Beard is Campus Reform's Director of Journalism Training. Prior to joining Campus Reform, he spent time as an editorial associate for National Review Online and as a staff writer at The Hill, where he served as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Lyn Nofziger Fellow and regularly appeared across the country on Fox News Radio to provide analysis of current events. In 2017, Sterling was named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's Influence List, one of nine people who "affected federal policy, campus culture, and the national conversation about education in 2017 — and who are likely to remain influential in the year ahead."

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