Two United Way health initiatives designed to combat childhood obesity are helping to bring life-long nutritious eating habits to children while promoting healthier families, schools and communities.
Common Threads, a United Way-funded program, is a unique school-based initiative that introduces children to healthy eating through the delight of cooking delicious culturally-relevant recipes. In conjunction with practical life-skills in health and nutrition, this collaborative, hands-on approach, empowers children to eat healthy, make sustainable behavior changes, and celebrate culture through food.
The program also engages parents, families, teachers and the greater community because research shows that children’s decisions are significantly affected by a combination of their environment and personal interactions. And the results are encouraging. By the end of the program, 81% of students could identify the components of a healthy meal. And 84% increased their cooking confidence. That’s a win-win for a healthier community.
Another groundbreaking health initiative designed to increase physical activity and promote the benefits of healthy eating to students, parents and teachers is taking shape at Wesley Matthews Elementary School. There, in partnership with Baptist Health South Florida, we are implementing our first designated Healthy Eating Active Living (H.E.A.L) at the school with a healthy breakfast and group fitness activities.
These hands-on programs that empower students and families to make smart decisions about what they eat combined with being physically active are helping to turn the tide of childhood obesity and building a stronger, more healthier Miami.