More than 1 in 5 Ohio children live with hunger and more than 1 in 10 preschoolers struggle with obesity due to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Children’s Hunger Alliance educates and engages children and families in healthy food choices and physical activity so they can establish healthy habits at a young age.
Our Nutrition Education team leads thousands of children each year through age-appropriate nutrition curriculum at daycare centers, afterschool sites and summer programs. We also work with in-home child care providers and daycare center staff on learning how to plan nutritious meals and offer healthy food options to the children in their care.
Children’s Hunger Alliance also certifies family child care providers in the Ohio Healthy Programs, which ensures providers offer children in their care fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and more.
The lessons we teach caretakers emphasize healthy eating and are geared toward reducing childhood obesity, a common risk in environments where children lack access to poor nutrition.
Nutrition Education for Preschoolers
Children’s Hunger Alliance works with centers to offer the proven EatPlayGrow™ programming so children can establish healthy habits at a young age. Developed by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health, the 11-week EatPlayGrow program uses fun, hands-on activities to teach children ages 6 and younger to make healthy choices about nutrition and physical activity. The program includes storytelling, art-making, music and movement activities to teach children how nutrition, physical activity and sleep affect their health. Children’s Hunger Alliance has registered dietitians on its Nutrition and Physical Education team who lead the weekly classes at the daycare center. The program lasts 11 weeks, and our Nutrition Education team members bring everything needed for each lesson: a healthy snack, art supplies, lesson plans and creative ideas to engage the children. Daycare centers simply provide the space and time to complete the program.
The Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health (CATCH) physical education curriculum is designed to promote healthful behaviors in school-aged children and reduce their subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease. The program consists of 20 lessons focusing on non-competitive physical activity for elementary and middle school-aged children. Each hour-long program engages kids and includes a warm-up, fitness activity and cool-down session. Children move at their own pace and have fun.
Ohio Healthy Programs
Children’s Hunger Alliance works with family child care providers to create healthy environments where children learn to make healthy food choices and engage in physical activity through the Ohio Healthy Programs for the Family Child Care Provider. Ohio Healthy Programs training curriculum comes from Healthy Children, Healthy Weights, which was created in 2004 by Columbus Public Health and is designed to prevent childhood overweight and obesity by promoting healthy weight and growth in all children ages birth to five years old.
Healthy Children, Healthy Weights was originally piloted at Head Start Centers in Columbus. In 2015, the Ohio Department of Health began a partnership with Children’s Hunger Alliance supporting the Healthy Children, Healthy Weights curriculum to train family child care providers on understanding and incorporating healthy eating and active living into their home based day care centers, impacting more than 1,000 children across the state of Ohio.