Childhood obesity is a complex public health challenge requiring multiple approaches. California Extension is showing the way forward.
The University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, a partner of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), has been closely working with state agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the state to prevent obesity. In addition to teaching children about nutrition, they are changing the environment to encourage physical activity and healthy food choices.
Their efforts are driving comprehensive changes in 861 schools and communities to help children grow up at a healthy weight. Approaches include planting gardens, buying locally grown produce, redesigning cafeterias, creating wellness programs and providing spaces for families to walk and bike.In 2016, schools and communities made the following changes:
- 126 edible gardens in 25 counties were established, maintained or re-invigorated
- 121 schools in 23 counties are redesigning their lunchrooms to entice students to select healthier foods
- 106 sites with school or district wellness committees are receiving CalFresh advice
- 39 SNAP-Ed sites in 9 counties are receiving CalFresh assistance in buying fresh produce
- 17 SNAP-Ed sites in 5 counties are improving access to safe walking and bicycle paths