HOST's 2019 Accomplishments
December 18, 2019
Ten years after its founding in 2009, HOST members continue to drive healthier habits for children and youth and show the benefits of the National AfterSchool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards. Here are some of the highlights of 2019:
- The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) celebrated five years of its Commit to Health campaign, which is guided by the NAA HEPA Standards developed by HOST. Nearly 500,000 youth nationwide have improved access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities annually via the more than 2,000 park and recreation sites nationally who have signed on to the campaign, as shown by this infographic.
- A study in the Journal of School Health looked at three after-school sites run by Danville Parks and Recreation in Danville, VA, that adopted the NAA HEPA Standards. It found that adopting standards for healthy snacks may not be enough to enough to improve snack quality in after-school programs, and suggested that programs also implement ongoing efforts to train staff, establish environmental supports (such as turning off vending machines during after school time), and engage parents in supporting their children’s healthy eating habits.
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation produced a series of downloadable Healthy Out-of-School-Time Roadmaps to guide the implementation of the NAA HEPA Standards, including tips to take action, trainings for staff, and resources to explore. In collaboration with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, each roadmap also includes guidance on integrating social-emotional health into a healthier out-of-school time for kids.
- The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with NRPA and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), in 2019 issued a brief on “Afterschool: Fostering Protective Factors that Can Last a Lifetime,” which looks at risk factors that increase the likelihood that one will take part in unhealthy behaviors as well as protective factors that spur healthy behaviors and development.
- Six states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas) have now introduced policies related to HEPA, with support from Voices for Healthy Kids/American Heart Association.
- The Girls Collaborative Project, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the National Afterschool Association and the Afterschool Alliance issued an updated STEM and Wellness Guide for educators that includes a call to adopt the NAA HEPA Standards.
- There have been annual increases in federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) and Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG) to support OST programs that include physical activity and healthy eating--in spite of proposed elimination by the Administration. Tennessee’s 21st CCLC application specifically asks applicants to show support for healthy eating and physical activity.
When HOST was founded our vision was to foster health and well-being practices in out-of-school time programs nationwide, using science-based standards for healthy eating, physical activity, screen time, and social supports for these behaviors including staff, family and child engagement. Today in 2019 and as we head into 2020, HOST continues to share healthy eating and physical activity news, events, tips, and more from its members through regular posts on the HOST Coalition website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Thanks to all of our HOST members and to all of the OST professionals, other educators, parents, and community members who have supported our work through the years.