Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures (HKHF) aims to prevent early childhood obesity by supporting health promoting environments where young children live (home), learn (preschool) and play (community).
HKHF was founded in 2009 and is supported by Northeastern University and Boston Children’s Hospital. HKHF partners with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), Inc. Head Start and the City of Boston’s Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) to provide programming, education and training in Boston neighborhoods where children and families are disproportionately at risk of and burdened by obesity.
Over 26% of preschoolers in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and rates are even higher among low-income and minority children. Children who are obese in their preschool years are more likely to be obese and to develop serious medical conditions linked to obesity as adolescents and adults. At the same time, the preschool years represent a unique opportunity to address obesity early and to form health behaviors that can have a positive impact across the lifespan. HKHF is a primary prevention intervention that focuses on those children most at risk of obesity at an age when the impact of behavioral and environmental change can be maximized.
HKHF offers a variety of programming components designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity among families with young children. A key piece of HKHF programming at the community level is Open Gym, a free play program for families with children 3-8 years old. The video below provides a brief overview of the Open Gym program.