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Programs

Health and Nutrition Programs

Healthy Kids Festival

The goal of the Healthy Kids Festival is to provide sustainable tools and opportunities for low income families with young children (ages 3-8) to make healthy choices as he/she approaches the adolescent years. The event, hosted by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids program in collaboration with local community partners provides long term solutions to childhood obesity through physical activity, healthy eating and other behaviors related to childhood obesity prevention.

Healthy Kids Festival logo

Unlike many health fairs, the event focuses on the learning environment through interactive activities from local health, nutrition and physical activity specialists including youth sports, dance, gymnastics and other physical activity advocates, as well as local chefs, food growers and gardening experts. Educational activities such as reducing sugary beverages, enrolling children in their first 5k race, registering kids to participate in local team sports are all features of the festival that come together to create a special experience. Parents are provided with the opportunity to have children’s health indicators measured and explained, such as BMI along with other health services, such as a dental or eye exams. Musical and dance entertainers add to the excitement of the healthy messaging.

Children get to taste a variety of fruits and vegetables and learn about food systems such as picking out their very own fruits and vegetables at the farmers market through the use of a “seed to table” approach to help increase fruit and vegetable consumption in young children and their families.

  • "GROW” A garden station that demonstrates how fruits and vegetables are grown and allows young children the opportunity to seed and harvest their own fruits and vegetables (e.g. radishes).
  • “TRY” Children are directed to a food demonstration where local chefs prepare fruit and vegetable salads with produce that includes items being harvested (radish salad).
  • “BUY” Finally, children are provided the opportunity, using pretend coins “Healthy Bucks”, to purchase their own choice of fruits and vegetables including the highlighted seed-to-table item (radishes for sale).

Issue

The prevalence of childhood obesity has dramatically increased nationwide. Specifically, 31.5% of 4-6 year olds in Nevada are obese or overweight (CDC 2014). The underlying causes of obesity range from genetic propensity to socio-economic, cultural and environmental influences resulting in unhealthy physical activity and eating practices. A person’s relationship with physical activity and food begins in infancy and is molded during childhood. The Healthy Kids Festival employs the environmental change approach to address childhood obesity at the community level.

What Has Been Done

The event has been hosted annually since 2012. In 2017, 1,058 attended the festival including 178 volunteers, students, interns and community partners who helped make the event successful and nearly 900 families and children (74% > 8 years old) who were exposed to new physical activity and healthy eating opportunities. The Healthy Kids Festival continues to reach its’ targeted audience of underserved and low-income families (72% of attendees in 2017) and Latino audiences (54%).

The next event will be held:

Sept 29, 2018 (location TBD) from 10am — 2pm during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Impact:

Following the Healthy Kids Festival (2017), respondents reported:

  • 61% (n=64) an increase in eating different kinds of fruits daily since the Healthy Kids Festival; 18% of children who usually only eat one kind of fruit per day reported an increase.
  • 48% (n=65) an increase in eating different kinds of vegetables daily since the Healthy Kids Festival; 23% of children who usually eat none or only one kind of vegetable per day reported an increase.
  • 61.5% (n=65) an increase in cups of water drank daily since the Healthy Kids Festival; 30% of children who usually drink less than 3 cups per day reported an increase.
  • 55% (n=65) an increase in the average number of minutes they are physically active daily; 28% of children who are usually active less than 60 minutes per day reported an increase.
  • 68% (n=66) an interest in signing up a new physical activity since attending the Healthy Kids Festival; 14% of children signed up for a new activity within one month. The top three reasons participants had not yet signed up for a new physical activity were cost (53%), being too busy (43%) and the location and time of classes or activities are not convenient (37%).
  • 80% (n=66) an increase in purchasing more fruits and vegetables since the Healthy Kids Festival. The top four reasons participants said they had not purchased more fruits and vegetables were cost (47%), fruits and vegetables go bad too quickly (30%), child does not like the taste of many fruits and vegetables (28%) and too busy to prepare fruits and vegetables (25%).

Partners:

  • Clark County Parks and Recreation (major sponsor)
  • USDA SNAP-Education (major sponsor)
  • Green Our Planet
  • UNLV Student Nutrition & Dietetic Association
  • UNLV Dental School
  • La Bonita Supermarket
  • Marshall Foundation
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Junior League of Las Vegas
  • and many more

Contacts:

Health and Nutrition Programs

Programs Program Information

All 4 Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by Cooperative Extension faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The mission of Nevada’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is to assist families with limited financial resources. Through educational support and experiential learning, the families acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and changed behavior to improve their nutritional and health status in order to prevent chronic disease and enhance family well-being. Practical application allows learners to see the relevance of information to their daily lives.

Food Safety Project

Grow Yourself Healthy

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

The Healthy Eating on a Budget program has been integrated into the TANF Work Readiness workshop as a SNAP-Ed program. The purpose of the 8-lesson series is to provide SNAP recipients with education on healthy nutrition and physical activity practices, food resource management, food safety and food security.

Healthy Kids Festival

The goal of the Healthy Kids Festival is to provide sustainable tools and opportunities for low income families with young children (ages 3-8) to make healthy choices as he/she approaches the adolescent years. The event, hosted by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s All 4 Kids program in collaboration with local community partners provides long term solutions to childhood obesity through physical activity, healthy eating and other behaviors related to childhood obesity prevention.

Healthy Steps to Freedom

Alcohol and drug addiction are serious, chronic and relapsing health problems for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Leading to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse often precipitates violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, motor vehicle crashes, homelessness, rising health care costs and obesity.

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Veggies for Kids

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) Veggies for Kids program takes a proactive approach toward eating and experiencing different kinds of vegetables for American Indian children at a young age.