New Study Recommends Increasing Awareness of HOST HEPA Standards

March 11, 2015

Kids on the MoveAfterschool programs are helping to combat childhood obesity, but more can be done to support children's health and wellness through these programs, according to a new national study from HOST member Afterschool Alliance. One of its recommendations is to increase awareness of HOST's Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards.

A national household survey conducted by Shugoll Research for the Afterschool Alliance​ ​finds that afterschool programs are continuing to make advances in providing students with nutritious foods, keeping them physically fit, and promoting health.

A special report based on this survey, "Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity," focuses on parents’ reports of efforts made by afterschool programs to help improve the health and physical fitness of children and youth. It describes ways afterschool programs can better meet the health and wellness needs of students and families and outlines steps we can take as a nation to make positive change for students’ overall health. Findings are based on responses collected for America After 3PM from 30,000 U.S. households, including in-depth interviews with more than 13,000 parents and guardians.

Key findings from "Kids on the Move":

  • Older youth are less likely than younger children to attend an afterschool program that offers food and less likely to be physically active in their program.
  • Providing healthy food during afterschool programs is especially important to low-income, African-American and Hispanic parents.
  • Opportunities for physical activity are important to African-American, Hispanic and low-income parents.
  • Many parents are unaware that standards for healthy eating and physical activity -- like HOST's HEPA Standards -- exist for afterschool programs.

Recommendations:

  • Increase awareness of the HEPA Standards.
  • Highlight the role that afterschool programs can play in promoting students’ health and wellness.
  • Ensure that afterschool program providers are aware of existing policies and programs that offer support for creating a healthier after school environment.
  • Increase investment in afterschool programs.

For more detail on these findings and recommendations, please read the full report.​ Two members of the HOST leadership team, Dr. Georgia Hall of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time and Dr. Jean Wiecha of RTI International, served as advisers for this study.

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