Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Recreation and Park Association Join Partnership for a Healthier America to Create Healthier Environments for Five Million Kids
MIAMI, FL (February 25, 2014)—The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the childhood obesity epidemic, today announced that two of the nation’s largest providers of low-cost or free out-of-school time activities have committed to create healthier environments for five million kids in their programs.
Over the next five years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) have committed to encouraging 5,400 sites and Clubs nationwide to adopt strong standards for nutrition and physical activity. Both groups also will encourage their sites to join the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative, which will provide the process, tools and resources necessary to ensure healthier settings for the kids in their care.
In remarks at an event in Gwen Cherry Park, First Lady Michelle Obama applauded the announcement.
“Between today’s announcement and our work to serve better food and get more activity into our schools, we’re now ensuring that more and more of our kids will be staying healthy throughout the entire arc of their day,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “We’ve revamped our school meal program, so soon, millions more kids will be starting their day with a healthy meal…and they’ll get another good meal at lunch—a meal that includes more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They are getting active through the day, whether that’s during recess, or PE class, or during an exercise break between lessons. And when the school day ends, they’ll head to an after-school program like this one, and they’ll get even more nutritious food and even more opportunities to get active.”
In the United States today, more than a third of kids are overweight or obese. On any given day, up to 20% of American children do not consume any fruits, and up to 30% do not consume any vegetables. Two in three do not get enough daily physical activity. At the same time, nearly 15 million school-aged kids are on their own after school.
“What we know is that active kids do better—in school and in life,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “Today’s commitments are another big step forward in getting our kids into healthier environments throughout their day. I am so pleased to welcome NRPA and BGCA – two organizations that are absolutely critical to the communities, families and kids they serve – into the PHA family.”
PHA works with the private sector to garner meaningful commitments that help end the childhood obesity epidemic. Its more than 60 private sector partners work in all 50 states to make healthier choices easier for busy parents and families.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to helping young people eat healthier, become more active and lead healthy lifestyles,” said Damon A. Williams, Ph.D., senior vice president, Program, Training & Youth Development Services for BGCA. “Our pledge is to provide a world-class experience after school and in summer that assures success is within reach for every young person who enters our doors – and critical to that success is building healthy habits. Our public commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America will help our Clubs inspire youth to stay active and make smart food choices that will help them achieve a great future.”
“Improving the quality of life of our children is of utmost priority for the National Recreation and Park Association,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “Our children have a greater chance of achieving good health throughout life if they are supported by environments that foster lifelong healthy habits. Our commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America transforms out-of-school programming in park and recreation agencies across America. By ensuring that our agencies are providing the highest standards for eating and physical activity, we are investing in our future and generations to come.”
Specifically, over the next five years, the organizations will:
Encourage Clubs and sites to join in the national effort to create healthier environments for children in out-of-school time programs.
- BGCA will encourage 3,400 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide to join in the national effort to create healthier environments for children in out-of-school time programs.
- NRPA will encourage 2,000 park and recreation sites to join the national effort to create healthier environments for children in out-of-school time programs.
- Each Club or site will be encouraged to join the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Out-of-School Time program through the electronic submission of a Healthy Out-of-School Time Inventory, which is built upon The National Afterschool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity and USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards.
Encourage Clubs and sites to adopt healthy eating and physical activity standards.
- BGCA will encourage 3,400 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide to adopt the following standards, which are built upon The National Afterschool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity and USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards and are consistent with the Boys and Girls Club Culture of Wellness Framework.
- NPRA will encourage 2,000 park and recreation sites nationwide to adopt the following standards, which are built upon The National Afterschool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity and USDA Smart Snacks in School Standards.
- Food and Beverages
- Serve a fruit or vegetable at every snack and meal.
- Serve only foods with no artificial trans fats.
- Serve only whole grain-rich products.
- Serve only non-fat or reduced fat yogurt and cheese.
- Serve only lean meat, skinless poultry, seafood, beans/legumes or eggs.
- Serve only packaged snacks or frozen desserts that meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards for foods.
- Provide plain potable water at all times at no cost to youth and staff.
- Serve only water; plain low-fat milk, plain or flavored nonfat milk or milk alternative; 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners or 100% juice diluted with water with no added sweeteners.
- Dedicate at least 20% or at least 30 minutes of morning or afterschool program time to physical activity and at least 60 minutes for a full day program.
- Provide physical activities in which youth are moderately to vigorously active for at least 50% of the physical activity time.
- Ensure physical activity takes place outdoors whenever possible.
- Youth and Family Education
- Offer evidence-based nutrition education to youth.
- Offer evidence-based education materials about nutrition and physical activity to families through pamphlets, newsletters, email blasts or other means.
Additionally, NRPA has committed to eliminating access to television and movies at its sites, and limiting digital device time to less than an hour a day, used for homework or activities that engage youth in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.