Healthy Places: embedding healthy nutrition and physical activity policies in everyday settings

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 6:00 AM by Jump IN for Healthy Kids

2016 Year in Review - part one in a series of four

The new year brings the opportunity to pause and reflect on 2016 and our progress in reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. In this series of four Year in Review stories, we summarize some of our most significant accomplishments to date.

Healthy Places

Jump IN’s mission is to promote policies and practices that create healthy environments where families and children have real opportunities to make healthy choices and engage in healthy behaviors.Two girls reaching for fruit and salad in school cafeteriaMuch of Jump IN’s work is grounded in this fact:

Changing the environment is the best way to change behaviors.

Research shows that if healthy nutrition and physical activity policies can be implemented in the places where children and families spend most of their time, their health will likely improve. Here’s how we helped schools, child care centers, worksites, and family homes embed healthy nutrition and physical activity policies and practices in 2016:

Jump IN Pledge

We recruited and engaged 331 schools, employers, child care providers, youth serving organizations, community centers, and families who signed the Jump IN Pledge to create healthy places for children and families. By taking the Pledge, each signer began consciously striving to serve healthy foods and beverages, provide opportunities for physical activity, teach healthy habits, and model healthy behaviors. We continue to support our Pledge signers with resources and tools, including many of those described below. 

FitnessGram

We provided FitnessGram software licenses, training, and technical assistance to 169 schools in 14 school districts in central Indiana that serve more than 90,000 students. FitnessGram is the most widely used tool nationwide for assessing students’ health-related fitness (not sports-related skills). Schools can use students’ FitnessGram assessments to tailor physical education curriculum to student needs.

Twenty physical education teachers participating in training in school gymnasium

In exchange for the software and support, each school has agreed to provide Jump IN with de-identified biometric and fitness data on its students for three years (more details on that in part three of our year-in-review series). This data allows us and public health researchers to assess changes in the obesity prevalence rate and evaluate the effectiveness of programs targeted to those students.

Learning Connection Summit

In partnership with the American Dairy Association Indiana, we co-hosted the Learning Connection Summit in June, bringing ground-breaking research on the link between health and academic achievement to educators from around the state. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck capped off the event as our lunch speaker.

Grant Planning and Assistance

We connected schools in MSD Lawrence Township and Morgan County to Indiana State Department of Health grants that will provide opportunities for physical activity in classrooms. The schools will explore the impact of standing desks, stationary bikes, and a physical obstacle course that primes kids for learning as they enter the building. The findings of these pilot projects will help inform future initiatives for these schools and more.

5-2-1-0 Curriculum

We helped the Social Health Association of Indiana add 5-2-1-0 messaging into its human growth and development classes serving students in grades 4-6. We also assisted the Ruth Lilly Health Education Center in incorporating 5-2-1-0 in its Food for Thought program for grades 4-6.

Early Child Care Training

We supported 53 child care centers—serving more than 5,000 children—with Nemours-based training and customized assistance to implement best practices in early childhood nutrition and physical activity.

Teacher leading six students in dance activity in preschool

We recruited and enrolled a new cohort of 56 child care providers—many of them licensed in-home care providers—to begin the  Nemours-based training in the fall of 2016. This group reaches another 2,400 children in central Indiana and continues its work into 2017.

Employee Wellness

We launched a pilot of our coaching program, matching three employers with well-established, best practice employee wellness programs with three small to midsize employers who wish to begin or expand workplace wellness programs.

Resources

We launched our Healthy Kids Blog, a resource for weekly tips and articles for employers, schools, child care providers, and families.

We released two in-depth guides specifically related to improving nutrition and physical activity in schools.

healthy-students-offer-preview.jpgWe unveiled a robust Resource Hub of reliable, helpful tools for employers, schools, child care providers, families, and other organizations seeking help in changing policies and behavior related to nutrition and physical activity.

More to Come

We are excited about these achievements and the momentum they provide for 2017. We will continue to evaluate, refine, and embed healthy nutrition and physical activity policies with particular emphasis on schools, child care providers, and worksites in central Indiana.

Coming in Part 2 of our Year in Review series:  A look at Healthy Neighborhood strategies and the Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside Healthiest Cities Challenge initiative.

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Topics: News, physical activity, child care, schools, employee wellness, healthy eating, 5210

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