Afterschool programs keep kids safe, healthy and learning!
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, our state's obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and our kids are on track to becoming the most obese in the nation. To reverse this trend, we must take action.
Successful solutions are beginning to come together in Oklahoma, thanks to many organizations and programs who are working together for a healthier state. Afterschool programs are a key strategy in achieving our goals.
Partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works in collaboration with the Oklahoma After School Network (OKAN) to support Oklahoma City After School programs.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Alliance) works with all sectors of the community - schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals, and families - to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids. The Alliance was formed through a partnership of the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation as an initiative to address the steep increase of childhood obesity throughout the nation. The Alliance has been influential in improving the nutrition quality of school cafeterias, increasing time for physical activity in schools and working with industries to improve vending machine options. The Alliance as its own 501c(3) organization extends its resources to out-of-school time sites in the Oklahoma City area to promote physical activity and healthy eating.
So what is an Out-of-School site? “Out-of-School sites are programs and organizations that provide a safe location and program for children before or after school,” stated Travis Humphrey, the Alliance’s Healthy Out-of-School Time Manager of Oklahoma City. “I am here,” stated Humphrey, “as a resource for organizations like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Recreation Centers to help them apply best practices for physical activity and healthy eating. Any organization that provides a program for children before or after school is eligible to receive support from the Alliance through its Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative or other programs.”
The Healthy Out-of-School Time Initiative in Oklahoma City has hit the ground running. In the first month of offering its services in Oklahoma City fourteen out-of-school time sites have agreed to utilize the resources of the Alliance’s Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative. These sites include the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and the Putnam City School District. The main resource that the Alliance provides for these sites is a six step process wherein the site evaluates its practices using a framework of Alliance best practices with healthy eating and physical activity standards. This framework allows the site to evaluate its current practices and provides a roadmap for voluntary improvement. If an out-of-school program wants to improve its services, the Alliance is there to help them through the process.
What you need to know about afterschool meals
In this Webinar, speakers discuss the nationwide expansion of the new Afterschool Meal Program made through The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The Afterschool Meal Program is an important new sustainable funding source for afterschool programs. Speakers will explain the new program and discuss how it will be implemented nationwide.
The webinar is co-sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the YMCA of the USA.
* Crystal Fitz Simons, Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs, Food Research and Action Center
In 2005, Oklahoma's Governor announced the "Strong & Healthy Oklahoma" Initiative- a coordinated, collaborative approach to improve the health of Oklahomans by encouraging them to Eat Better, More More and Be Tobacco Free. A major focus of this effort included finding effective ways to reduce childhood obesity. As a proud partner with the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative, the Oklahoma Afterschool Network is a part of those leading the way!
The Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition is working to be the change agent for improving the health environment and behaviors of children and youth by taking direct aim at the childhood obesity epidemic. A partner program with OKAN at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Fit Kids creates awareness and provides educational resources to schools, communities and families seeking nutritional information and strategies to be fit and healthy.
Good things are happening here in Oklahoma to help kids and families learn about healthy lifestyles! In Grove, Oklahoma, a partnership between the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Grand Lake YMCA, OSU Cooperative Extension and the Grove Public Schools adopted The CATCH Kids Club curriculum. The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Kids Clubhas been shown, through a strong national evaluation, to be effective in improving nutrition, physical activity and healthy choices among elementary school children in afterschool settings. In addition to the nutrition and physical activity lessons, CATCH promotes positive social, cultural, physical, emotional, cognitive and educational outcomes for students.
A great example of immersing health education in afterschool settings is taking place in North Carolina. The Move More Afterschool North Carolina initiative resources, curriculum standards and activity planners for afterschool providers. Visit their website by clicking here.
The scientifically based curriculum of GO Club and GO Crew addresses each of the three major Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS): Motor Skill and Lifetime Activity Development, Health-Enhancing Activity Development and Personal and Social Skill Development. The overall goal of PASS is to promote the health and well-being of each student and guide them toward becoming physically active for life.
The Oklahoma Afterschool Network factsheet has current data on Oklahoma's health and how afterschool programs are a great opportunity to educate our kids and parents about healthy lifestyles. Click here to download our fact sheet.
This article by Jennifer Peck for the Huffington Post links the childhood obesity epidemic to a loss of summer learning opportunities for kids.
In this July, 2010 articlefrom the Afterschool Alliance, Erik Peterson explains the importance of the federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
The United Health Foundation
This report provides projections of future health care costs directly attributable to obesity for each state and for the nation. Using nationally representative data on adults, the study estimates the effect of the increasing prevalence of obesity on total direct health care costs. Estimates are controlled for age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, income, health insurance status, geographic region and smoking status.
The U.S. is expected to spend $344 billion on health care costs attributable to obesity in 2018 if rates continue to increase at their current levels. Obesity‐related direct expenditures are expected to account for more than 21 percent of the nation’s direct health care spending in 2018.
If obesity levels were held at their current rates, the U.S. could save an estimated $820 per adult in health care costs by 2018 ‐ a savings of almost $200 billion dollars.
At the state level, Oklahoma stands to benefit the most if obesity levels remain steady. This would provide a potential savings of $1,200 per adult or a savings of more than $3.2 billion for the state.
Oklahoma is expected to have the highest obesity rate in the country by 2018; Colorado is estimated to have the lowest obesity rate