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State Honoree

Mylo Cheng

Florida

Mylo Cheng, 18, of Palm Beach, Fla., a senior at Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach and a member of the Palm Beach County 4-H in West Palm Beach, developed a health education program that has been implemented by 4-H groups across Florida to teach young people the importance of eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending less time in front of TV and computer screens. After attending a state conference on childhood obesity, Mylo began researching the subject and concluded that his generation desperately needed to improve its lifestyle. "I was shocked to discover that many experts believe the life expectancy of my generation will be lower than that of my parents' generation as a result of our unhealthy habits," he said. "This has never happened before in recorded human history.

With a $1,000 grant from the Florida Department of Health, Mylo created a 50-page "healthy lifestyles" manual containing health facts, diet and exercise suggestions, progress charts, information resources and five lesson plans. As the President of Florida 4-H, an organization with more than 225,000 youth members, Mylo distributed his manual to county 4-H programs and hundreds of youth attending statewide 4-H events, all of whom were then trained to teach the importance of health to their local 4-H groups, friends, and relatives. Mylo also has rallied fellow 4-Hers to support federal legislation to improve physical education in schools, and he is now working to introduce his YEAH! (Youth Empowered Ambassadors for Health) program in local schools.