Andover teen spreading a healthy living message

by Eric Hagen
Staff Writer

A couple of years ago, Allison Vatne, 16, made what she called minor, but significant lifestyle changes in order to be healthier.

Allison Vatne, 16, will be representing Andover at the Miss Teen Minnesota International Pageant in St. Cloud March 10-11. Photo courtesy of Vatne family

The Andover High School junior wants to share her message of health and wellness with many more people. One way she plans to do this is through the Miss Teen Minnesota International Pageant in St. Cloud March 10-11.

“I came to a point where I could either take the high road or the low road for my physical health to become the best person I could be,” Vatne said.

After seeing an advertisement looking for pageant contestants in the Anoka County Union, Vatne applied to represent the city of Andover in this competition. After she completed an interview process, she was selected to be one of 23 young Minnesota women in the 13- to 18-year-old teenager division and is now in the process of securing sponsors. To date, her sponsors are the Drs. Rensch and Beck Orthodontics office in Andover and The Parlour Salon and Boutique in Andover.

She must also design an advertisement about herself and her educational platform, which will be included in the pageant program.

Along with Vatne, there is one other contestant from Anoka County who lives in Spring Lake Park.

After a grueling two-day pageant that includes an interview with a judges panel about the contestants’ educational platform and three competitions for evening gown, fitness wear and fun fashion, judges will select one of the 23 girls to represent Minnesota at the final Miss Teen International competition in Chicago, Ill., in late July.

Family friend Kim Daninger, a health and wellness director at Medtronic, is assisting Vatne in training for the pageant and in developing ideas for spreading her message after the competition is over.

The pageant is only one way Vatne plans to spread the message of the “Lets Move!” campaign developed by First Lady Michelle Obama. She would like to organize a health expo similar to the health and wellness expo the Anoka-Hennepin School District recently hosted at Oak View Middle School. She would like her health expo to include motivational speakers, information on healthy living tips and local involvement from businesses and the Andover YMCA/Community Center.

One of Vatne’s teachers is helping her develop a website blog where she could share tips. She would like to be involved in the Andover Family Fun Fest parade. She would like to talk with the school district and local day care providers about their nutritional goals for children.

Vatne said her goal is to play a part in the First Lady’s goal of reducing the obesity rate in America, especially in children. According to, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese.

“I think that is very significant and it’s obviously causing a lot of cause and effect problems,” Vatne said.

Dean Vatne said he and his wife Leslie are very proud of their daughter taking on this initiative.

“We’re very proud of her and really as much happy to see her pick up the interest in the whole healthy lifestyle programming,” Dean said. “We tried to set a good example for her, but more than anything else, she’s picked this up on her own and run with it…. It’s been a really positive experience for her.”

Dean Vatne was being both figurative and literal regarding his daughter running with this healthy lifestyle initiative. Since she made it a personal goal to be healthier, Vatne joined the cross country and track teams. She also has continued to take part in equestrianism, also referred to as horseback riding.

In addition to her athletic endeavours, Vatne is involved with the Youth Teaching Youth group that helps students be alcohol and tobacco free. She is involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group and she coaches elementary age kids for track running. At Andover High School she is involved with the speech and debate clubs and the Quiz Bowl team through 4-H.

Not surprisingly, Vatne would like a career in health and wellness. She will be meeting with health and wellness instructors during spring break college tours at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities so she can find out more about these schools’ programs and start to figure out what specific career she could pursue in this field.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]