Health and Nutrition
Afterschool programs are well-positioned to promote health and nutrition among young people because these programs:
- Serve many groups of children most at risk for being overweight, specifically minorities and those in poverty;
- Occur during a time of day when children are likely to be sedentary if not given active options;
- Reach children at the developmental stage when they are forming the health patterns they will carry into adulthood;
- Provide meals and snacks that can serve as nutritious examples for dietary habits;
- Act as liaisons to parents who make critical nutrition and physical activity decisions for their children;
- Have experience in making learning fun and modifying lessons for the needs of their students and clients;
- Offer a supportive, safe environment in which children can feel comfortable trying new activities and building new skills; and
- Are led by caring adults who can act as role models with positive influence on children’s health and nutrition choices (Afterschool Investments Project, 2006).
Afterschool programs can encourage healthy outcomes for youth by providing opportunities for physical activity, promoting good nutrition, and engaging parents to encourage healthy choices at home (Afterschool Investments Project, 2006).
The Afterschool Investments Project. (2006). Promoting physical activity and healthy nutrition in afterschool settings: Strategies for program leaders and policymakers Retrieved from http://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/13558/pdf