Childhood obesity is ranked as the #1 health concern for children in the US today and has reached epidemic proportions. The Healthy Behaviors Initiative—Changing Lives, Saving Lives, addresses the serious health problems facing students in low-income communities throughout California and most at risk of obesity. Through its work, Healthy Behaviors is demonstrating the important role that afterschool programs can play in improving the lives and health of these children.
Under the initiative, afterschool programs are being transformed into environments that support and encourage healthy behaviors. Six practices to help afterschool programs were created in consultation with expert stakeholders, grounded in research and deep afterschool experience, and tested and implemented by a learning community of multi-site afterschool programs selected for their outstanding work in nutrition and/or physical activity. Healthy Behaviors Learning Centers have been established at program sites across California to help other afterschool programs access support, resources and tools to increase healthy eating and physical activity of their students, staff and families.
Changing Lives, Saving Lives: A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Exemplary Practices in Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Food Security in Afterschool Programs (March 2010) provides user-friendly guidance to implementing the practices based on the Healthy Behaviors Learning Centers’ experiences (downloadable from www.afterschoolsolutions.org).
Funding for the Healthy Behaviors Initiative is made possible from the CA Department of Public Health’s Network for a Healthy California (through funds from the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program), The California Endowment and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Healthy Behaviors is an initiative of the Center for Collaborative Solutions.
Visit www.afterschoolsolutions.org for more information about the Healthy Behaviors Initiative.