The Healthy Behaviors Initiative has clearly demonstrated that afterschool programs are having a measurable impact on the health and well being of low-income families throughout California, can be a driving force in improving children’s eating habits and fitness levels, and provide a key to reversing the devastating childhood obesity trend.
Healthy Behaviors afterschool programs have become more intentional, embedding nutrition and physical activity as part of a holistic approach that creates healthy environments and changes attitudes and behaviors of students. The Initiative has seen staff changing their lifestyles and serving as role models, while children have become more physically fit and developing life-long interests such as swimming, martial arts, dance, tennis, hiking and biking. For example, the percentage of students who met the state’s FITNESSGRAM® standards increased from 40 to 70 percent at one of A World Fit for Kids! Learning Center sites and SF ExCEL has used the SOFIT evaluation tool to increase the amount of moderate to physical activity (MVPA) at several of their afterschool sites. Fitness 4 Life afterschool program at Pajaro Valley School District holds an annual triathlon with more than 3,000 children training for it all year long. Many of these students have never swum or ridden a bicycle before!
Students are increasing their healthy eating. They are participating in free and reduced-price meal programs, eating healthy afternoon snacks, working in school gardens and trying healthy recipes in cooking and nutrition classes. Families are taking advantage of underutilized resources such as the Food Stamp Program, attending nutrition education classes and preparing healthier meals at home. In a YMCA of Silicon Valley survey, 46 percent of parents reported that their shopping preferences had changed, and one in three stated they were using healthy recipes their children brought home. Mt Diablo CARES brings in about 100 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables for its children and families annually through a partnership with a local food bank.
Three Case Studies Tell the Story
Three Case Studies tell the story. Growing evidence of the impact of the Healthy Behaviors Initiative on students, families, communities and policy is demonstrated by case studies of three Healthy Behaviors Learning Center programs (A World Fit For Kids!, Club Y.E.S. and the YMCA of Silicon Valley). Read more.
Two Additional Case Studies Add to the Evidence
Case studies of the impact of the Healthy Behaviors Initiative on students, families, communities and policy provide additional information about the power of Healthy Behaviors Learning Center programs. These case studies include Mt. Diablo CARES and Fitness 4 Life. Read more.
New Report from Samuels & Associates on findings from survey of HBI Learning Centers.
The report found that the Practices are a unifying framework for how staff work with students, families and communities, and that the changes the programs made are sustainable over time. The Learning Centers shared their successes as well as challenges with the interviewers. Read more.
Samuels & Associates Report Provides Plan for Evaluating HBI
Samuels & Associates developed a an evaluation plan to provide a framework for evaluating the HBI model across Learning Center sites, by defining a core set of research questions and outcomes that can be tracked across Learning Centers. This builds on existing assessment and monitoring activities. Read more.