Professional Development

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Effective Models for Healthy Living OST

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 13:07

In a study called "On the Move," Drs. Georgia Hall and Jean Wiecha analyze six out-of-school time (OST) models using best practices to support physical activity and healthy living, in alignment with the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards adopted by NAA in April of 2011.

The HEPA standards include (but are not limited to) guidelines regarding food and beverages provided as snacks and available from vending machines, to be minimally processed, contain no added sugar or unhealthy oils, and contain whole grains when possible; training guidelines for staff, including physical activity, evidence-based nutrition, and social support for participants, such as engaging parents, and refraining from using food and activities as punishments and rewards; and content/quality guidelines, which address amount of time spent in physical activity, as well as program and environmental supports.

Drs. Hall and Wiecha note that approaches to integrating the HEPA standards into OST programs vary, and highlight a range of innovations.

In Los Angeles, A World Fit For Kids! has established a variety of training programs (Physical Activity Leadership, Mentors in Motion, Nourishing Matters, and Freshman Leadership Program) for high school students, parents, and teachers, who then mentor younger students.

Triple Play, the health and wellness program used by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, uses a three-pronged approach that focuses on the mind (by teaching nutrition and healthy habits), the body (through physical activity), and the soul (through social development).

The Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative, a partnership with local sports-based programs, offers character-building and life skills workshops through monthly seminars, a comprehensive website, and direct outreach to youth.

The Center for Collaborative Solutions has developed the Healthy Behaviors Initiative (HBI) and a comprehensive training program to help OST providers accomplish the initiative's three goals: increase children's physical activity, improve children's eating habits, and ensure that youth and their families can access healthy food.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to reduce childhood obesity by partnering with more than twenty thousand schools to provide extensive training to staff members, and has developed a self-improvement process particularly designed for OST sites.

LET US Play is a strategy developed through the YMCA of Columbia and the University of South Carolina to promote inclusion. The acronym stands for:

  Lines (removal of lines from games)
  Elimination (eliminate elimination, like "You're out!" from games)
  Team size (reduce team size to no more than the staff-to-child ratio)
  Uninvolved staff/kids (staff are involved and playing with children, and encouraging uninvolved children to play
  Space (space, equipment and rules are modified to maximize physical activity)

For more information, download the full report.