Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures (HKHF) has three overarching goals:
- To improve the capacity of early childcare providers to prevent childhood overweight and obesity among preschool children and their families.
- To increase opportunities for caregivers of young children to build skills that support informed and healthful food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced recreational screen time.
- To expand opportunities for young children to be physically active with their families in safe, accessible and age-appropriate settings.
HKHF achieves its goals by organizing efforts across two main programmatic components.
Component 1: Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion in Home and Childcare
HKHF engages Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), Inc. Head Start staff and parents/ caregivers through training, education, and capacity-building efforts.
Programming in this area has included:
- Farm to Family
- Annual Walk Challenges
- Nutrition Education activities, including Farmers’ Market and Supermarket Healthy Eating Tours, cooking workshops, and We Can! trainings
- Working Groups on topics including increasing the number of culturally diverse, healthy foods served in meals and improving communication with parents/caregivers about children’s weight status and Body Mass Index.
- Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC)
Component 2: Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion for Young Children and Families
To provide opportunities for family physical activity, HKHF partners with the City of Boston’s Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) to offer the Open Gym program. Open Gym is a weekly, 90-minute play program held on Saturday mornings, and is the only such program for Boston families with young children that is free and continues throughout the year. The primary goals of Open Gym are to create an environment that encourages young children ages 3-8 and their families to be active together and to promote open, non-fee based recreational use of Boston’s community centers. Open Gym is staffed by Northeastern University students and provides opportunities for student service-learning, civic engagement, and leadership development.