Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA)

Many students do not have enough access to nutritious meals and physical activity during the school day or at home, making the afterschool field a vital player in raising a healthy, safe, and fulfilled generation of youth.

The United States has reached a point where almost 1 in 3 children and teens qualify as overweight or obese. In addition, 71 percent of Americans between 17 and 24 years of age are ineligible to serve in the United States military due to health problems, citing lack of physical fitness as a primary reason for disqualification from the military.

Studies show that healthy, active children learn better, perform better academically and experience fewer behavioral problems. Thus, access to and instruction in healthy eating and physical activity can promote lifelong physical habits and bring further rewards in how youth feel about themselves and their mental and physical energy.

Parents know this, which is why 8 in 10 want an afterschool program that provides physical activity, and 7 in 10 want programs that offer healthy meals and snacks.