It’s an obvious truth that you only have to look at an elementary school playground for living proof that childhood obesity is on the rise. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years among the six- to 19-year-old population. We created our award-winning GoGirlGo! curriculum to get girls moving and help to fight this alarming statistic, but there are a myraid other programs out there that are worth exploring if GoGirlGo! is not available in your community.
1. Get Moving with the Let’s Move! Campaign
Started by First Lady Michelle Obama, the campaign is aimed at combating childhood obesity in the US. The campaign encourages everyone and anyone – parents, teachers, government officials on all levels, child caregivers, etc. – to get involved by helping kids to increase their physical activity, by making school food more nutritious and by making healthy food more affordable and accessible to all. The Let’s Move! Website provides links to a wide-range of programs and ideas to help achieve these goals. It also serves as a meeting spot for groups of people to join together and engage in activities offline.
2. Get gardening
Early Sprouts, a 24-week early childhood program based on a “seed to table” curriculum, encourages preschool-age children and their families to plant and care for gardens to help foster a love and understanding of healthy eating. The program includes directions for gardening, kid-friendly recipes and ways to help make healthy eating a family affair.
3. View a Virtual Lunch Box
Chef Ann Cooper, A.K.A. the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” has teamed up with Whole Foods Market to create a school nutrition resource aimed at transforming school lunches into healthy, wholesome meals. The F3 Foundation (Food/Family/Farming) is responsible for the Lunch Box Program and provides many free resources such as recipes, menu plans, training videos and budget analysis models to help you implement change in your own school cafeteria. Chef Cooper has also recently launched a program advocating the addition of salad bars in school cafeterias across the country.
4. Hook up with the NFL
The National Dairy Council and National Football League (NFL) launched a youth-led fitness and wellness program in more than 60,000 American schools in the 2009-2010 school year. The program, Fuel Up To Play 60, focuses on ways to get an hour of physical activity every day and how to make healthier food choices. Participating schools receive resources to help them implement and personalize the program.
5. Try out “exergaming”
In this Humana Games for Health program, students can compete against each other — and against 20 US politicians — in a virtual horse race. Each student is represented online by a horse icon, and each school is represented by a bus, which moves around the world fueled by the number of steps the participants take in real life. In addition to increased physical activity, the game teaches geography and history as students “travel” around the globe.