The Maryland Out of School Time Network held their seventh annual statewide conference on January 5 & 6 in Ellicott City, Md., celebrating the community of out-of-school time practitioners that MOST affectionately calls “OST Heroes.”
The two-day conference was jam-packed with informative workshops, resources from various exhibitors and the first annual MOST awards ceremony. I had the distinct pleasure of moderating a healthy behaviors panel, “Healthy Behaviors: Connecting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Partnerships for OST,” with experts from the Alliance for Healthier Generation, Giant Food, John Hopkins Urban Health Institute, Leveling the Playing Field, and Maryland Extension Food Supplement Nutrition Education.
The panel had three objectives:
- Build awareness. The prevalence of childhood in Maryland reflects the national average, where approximately one in three children ages two to 19 is overweight or obese. Since the rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the past three decades and children are now more likely to acquire risk factors for cardiovascular disease, building awareness of the issue is imperative. The panel also highlighted the sometimes overlooked relationship between food insecurity and obesity.
- Celebrate the network’s healthy eating and physical activity successes. In 2013, through a grant from the Maryland Food Bank provided by the Giant Food Foundation, MOST became the first statewide healthy out-of-school time intermediary to bring healthy eating and physical activity resources, training, and technical assistance to Maryland out-of-school time programs. As a result of the work of three Healthy Behaviors VISTAs and several partnerships that have developed over time, MOST was able to introduce the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Framework, based on the National Afterschool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards, to 30 afterschool sites.
- Take action. Since childhood obesity has become a national epidemic, we can no longer limit our prevention efforts to traditional school hours but must extend our efforts to before and after the school bell rings. To facilitate these efforts, MOST used this panel to inspire OST providers throughout Maryland to adopt the HOST Framework, become a healthy out-of-school time site and engage in the MOST Network’s Healthy Behaviors Learning Community.
The Maryland Out of School Time Network has done impactful work around Healthy Eating and Physical Activity and can be a valuable resource to other networks (and afterschool programs) looking to create and support heathier out-of-school time environments. Way to go, MOST!
|photo courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Foundation|
In partnership with Trinity Health, the U.S. Soccer Foundation recently announced a funding opportunity to expand their free out of school program, Soccer for Success. The Foundation seeks community partners to implement this program for 12 weeks during the spring of 2017, and who will return to operate the program for 24 weeks during the 2017-2018 academic year (fall 2017 through spring 2018).
What is Soccer for Success?
Soccer for Success is an evidence-based program created by the U.S. Soccer Foundation that uses soccer as a tool to address children’s health issues and juvenile delinquency, while promoting healthy lifestyles in urban and underserved communities. The program’s innovative curriculum is aimed at maximizing physical activity among participants each session, while also providing nutrition education and information on healthy lifestyles through unique soccer activities. Since the program’s inception, the Soccer for Success program has become a national movement, serving over 71,000 children in more than 130 cities.
How can I obtain funding?
The request for proposals (RFP) and application can be found on the U.S. Soccer Foundation website. The RFP provides details regarding funding, timelines and qualifications. Grant applications are due no later than Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST. Grant awards will be announced by November 17, 2016. Please note that your program must be located in a specific community. Find out if your program location qualifies.
Grants from U.S. Soccer Foundation provide support for Soccer for Success programs in many ways. Awardees will be provided with jerseys, soccer balls, socks, shin guards and field equipment, based on the number of participants enrolled in Soccer for Success. In unique circumstances, cash grants can also be provided to organizations that need support to pay coaches, program management staff, and/or family and community engagement and miscellaneous program costs. Funding priority will be given to organizations that do not require this support.
Need more information?
The U.S. Soccer Foundation will hold a call for interested applicants on September 29, 2016. Information about this call can also be found on the U.S. Soccer Foundation website.
You ready? 3,2,1…GO!
The month of May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This annual observance highlights the importance of healthy lifestyles, being physically active and participating in your favorite sports. Critical to enabling children to reach their fullest potential, daily physical activity must go hand in hand with healthy eating and proper nutrition. During the month of May, we call upon all afterschool providers and advocates to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating.
But wait! This month-long observance isn’t just about getting our kids active, it is also about being active adults! Yep, we are calling on you to be active too. Current Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week and youth participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day! So as you plan those fun games and serve nutritious foods to the children in your programs, be sure to participate as well. Be an example! Be a physical activity and healthy eating role model.
To help you get started, here are just a few ideas to engage in this month (and beyond!):
- Download and become familiar with National Afterschool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards
- Introduce some fun activities into your programs
- Sign up to be a PreventObesity.net Leader
- Make sure children in your programs have access to nutritious snacks and meals through CACFP’s At-Risk Afterschool or USDA’s Summer Food Service programs
- Share our Kids on the Move infographics and tweet supportive messages:
- This #PhysFitMonth, afterschool is keeping millions of kids active & healthy! Learn how: http://ow.ly/4nsDuG
- How is afterschool keeping kids active & healthy in your state this #PhysFitMonth? Find out from #AmericaAfter3PM! http://ow.ly/4nsDuG
- Post pictures of the children in your program being physical activity to your program’s website
- Add information about physical activity and healthy eating to your newsletters
- Host a family fit & fun night! Have families come out and participate in their favorite sport
- Identify youth leaders in your programs that can champion healthy lifestyles among their peers
To find other tips to get active during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and beyond, visit www.fitness.gov.
California’s Senate Bill 949 has established the state’s Distinguished After-School Health (DASH) program, a recognition program that encourages healthy foods, beverages, physical activity and limited screen time in afterschool programs. Authored by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) and administered by the California Department of Education, DASH was signed into law in 2014.
Since then, the California Department of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction have been creating a DASH portal for both parents and programs. Parents searching for a healthy afterschool program will be able to find a list of DASH-certified programs on the state’s website, and DASH-certified programs will be able to display their certifications at program sites and on their website or materials.
Starting in March, providers of afterschool programs in the before-school, afterschool or summer learning program settings throughout the state can request certification. Applications will be accepted until April 8, 2016 and certificates will be valid for two years. To become certified, programs must show evidence of fulfilling the following requirements, which are largely consistent with the National Afterschool Association's Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards:
Healthy Eating Research recently released a new issue brief on the impact of the first 1,000 days, or the period from conception through the age of 2, on childhood obesity. The issue brief is based on two review papers that examined evidence from selected studies published between January 1980 and December 2014. One paper reviewed the evidence on risk factors, while the other reviewed the evidence on the interventions in the first 1,000 days of life.
What does the evidence show?
- Childhood obesity originates in early life.
- The first years of life have a substantial impact on the disproportionate rates of obesity seen later in childhood, especially among racial and ethnic minorities.
- Among 2-5 year olds, Hispanic children have rates of obesity five times higher than non-Hispanic white children.
- Non-Hispanic black children have rates three times higher than white children.
Coloradans are joining the fight to end childhood obesity! The Colorado Board of Health unanimously passed new rules that will require licensed Colorado child care centers to serve meals and snacks that meet current USDA nutrition guidelines, prohibit children from being served sugary drinks, and engage children in more physical activity and limit their screen time.
As new data on obesity rates shows that nearly a quarter of children in Colorado are overweight, the proposed rules had overwhelming bipartisan support. The new rules regulating child care centers implemented by Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Early Childhood are:
- Regulation 7.702.55.A.1, requiring all meals and snacks provided by the center must meet current USDA child and adult care food program meal pattern requirements and be offered at suitable intervals.
- Regulation 7.702.55.A.2-3, restricting child care centers from serving juice and other sugar-sweetened beverages to children
- Regulation 7.702.58.A.2-7, requiring child care centers to provide preschool age and older children no less than sixty (60) minutes total for full day programs of physical activity, with outside activity preferred
- Regulation 7.7.02.58.B.1-6, preventing child care facilities from giving television and video time to kids under the age of two, and restricting screen time for kids over the age of two to fifteen minute increments up to twice per week.
Did you hear? The Afterschool Alliance is working with Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to build a consortium around increasing physical activity and healthy nutrition habits in early childhood care and out-of-school time settings! See the full announcement.
An integral part of our Voices for Healthy Kids early childhood and out-of-school time consortium is continual support of our afterschool and early child care leaders’ efforts in the field. To ensure that practitioners stay abreast of the latest and greatest research, resources and strategies to create healthier environments, the American Heart Association has launched PreventObesity.net. This site was designed to support you: the people who are working every day to ensure children everywhere become more physically active and consume nutritious meals. PreventObesity.net offers free tools and services, and is the only online national network of people solely dedicated to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.
How do you become a part of this network?
It’s as simple as signing up to become a Prevent Obesity.Net Leader.
Who is considered a Leader?
Anyone who is actively working in his or her community to change policies and environments toward reversing childhood obesity. See additional Leader requirements.
What are the benefits of becoming a Leader?
As a Leader, you will have complete access to all of the tools and services provided by PreventObesity.net, including the exclusive database of activists and more than 3,500 fellow Leaders working to prevent childhood obesity around the country. See a full list of Leader benefits.
The Afterschool Alliance has recently collaborated with Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to build a consortium around increasing children’s physical activity and nutritious food consumption in early childhood and in out-of-school time settings. The consortium will utilize stakeholders and subject matter experts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by advancing state and local public policies that improve nutrition and increases physical activity in out-of-school time and early childhood settings.
As the early childhood and out-of-school time consortium’s lead organization, the Afterschool Alliance will coordinate, manage and engage a poll of experts and leaders to provide technical assistance to state and local networks that develop physical activity and nutrition campaigns within the out-of-school time and early childhood fields. The Afterschool Alliance will also connect afterschool and early childhood leaders with the research and resources available on PreventObesity.net, a hub for all things healthy launched by the American Heart Association.
To support this new collaboration, the Afterschool Alliance has hired Tiereny Lloyd as Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives. Lloyd brings to the Afterschool Alliance extensive experience in advancing health and wellness among children most in need, at both a national and program level. Lloyd will support efforts in both the out-of-school time and early childhood communities.
The Afterschool Alliance is excited to help build healthier environments for America’s youth during the most formative times of their lives by joining in the mission of Voices for Healthy Kids: “We are working to ensure that the places where children live, learn, and play make it easy and enjoyable for them to eat healthy foods and be active.”