Improving Diets and Physical Fitness of Low-Income Children

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In the United States, low-income Black and Hispanic children face greater risks of obesity than white children. Programs that encourage eating fruits and vegetables and engaging in physical activity can promote healthy weight and encourage lifelong healthy habits.

Enter the Children’s Power Play! Campaign, a research-proven social marketing campaign by PHI’s Network for a Healthy California (now the Center for Wellness and Nutrition, or CWN). The campaign reached 500,000 low-income California children a year and improved habits around eating fruits and vegetables and staying physically active.

One study of the campaign by the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program with CWN researchers and other colleagues looked at a 10-week intervention that included weekly classroom lessons, more breaks for outdoor physical activities, social promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption and a “Harvest of the Month” taste test project.

After 10 weeks, children in the intervention group showed an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, compared to a control group that showed a decrease. The intervention group kids also increased their lunchtime/recess physical activity, compared to the control group.

The study concluded:


“Power Play! provides free resources and training and has the potential to improve diet among large populations of ethnically diverse children from low-income households in the United States.”

See the study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

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