Professional Development

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Eating Healthier and Moving More in OST

Out-of-school time (OST) programs serve more than 10 million young people per year, which provides a significant opportunity to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Until fairly recently, however, the field has lacked a comprehensive set of operationalizable standards for healthy eating and physical activity (Childhood Obesity 2012).

In 2009, individuals from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB), and the YMCA of the USA collaborated to found the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Coalition. A year later, the HOST Coalition founders at NIOST and UMass Boston received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assess needs and create evidence-based healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards that foster the best possible nutrition and physical activity outcomes for K-12 children and youth attending OST programs. In 2011, the standards were adopted by the National AfterSchool Association and named the NAA HEPA Standards.

Since then, many organizations have committed to using the NAA HEPA Standards. Some have adapted or selected from the standards to create organization specific versions tailored to specific settings. Today, the NAA HEPA Standards have a new look and feel that should make them more user-friendly for OST professionals. Click here to access a copy of the NAA HEPA Standards.

For news, resources, and tools to help kids eat healthier and move more in OST:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation


Facebook: The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Twitter: @HealthierGen

Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Coalition


Facebook: HOST Coalition

Twitter: @HOSTCoalition

National AfterSchool Association (NAA)


Facebook: National AfterSchool Association

Twitter: @Natlafterschool

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Shah.