Head Start Health Education in Central PA
The Center for Childhood Obesity Research has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to promote responsive parenting and obesity prevention among low-income mothers. Through this partnership, we are developing an online responsive feeding curriculum to better reach low-income mothers that face many barriers to participation in educational events in-person. This outreach work is funded by Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). SNAP-Ed is administered by the PA Department of Human Services and is funded by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. With SNAP-Ed funding, we created the Healthy Kids Club program to provide nutrition education and exposure to healthy foods to over 1,270 young children enrolled in 75 classrooms throughout collaborating Head Start centers in 7 Pennsylvania counties. We are also exploring innovative ways to engage Head Start caregivers via mobile and online technologies to provide nutrition education, along with a connection to preschool activities, educational events, and community resources for healthy eating.
Head Start Family Events and Health Fairs
Whole wheat crackers and apple slices are a tasty and healthy snack!
Through the Healthy Kids Club, CCOR participates in Head Start family events and health fairs, including an annual year-end Health & Safety Carnival that serves almost 800 Blair County Head Start families. Educational handouts and activities are delivered to preschoolers and their caregivers along with food tastings/demos to reinforce the nutrition education messages delivered in the preschool classrooms throughout the school year as part of our SNAP Ed program.
Kim Smith, one of CCOR’s Nutrition Educators, takes kids All Aboard the Veggie Train in one of her monthly nutrition lessons!
Preschool kids trying red bell peppers and pita bread with hummus as they learn all about making healthy snack choices.
Community Educational Fairs & Healthy Eating Workshops
CCOR sponsors community educational fairs and Healthy Eating workshops:
- A Community Education Extended Learning (CEEL) Program event at the Ferguson Township Elementary was sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Savage Williams and her Community Nutrition 456 students in the planning and implementation of 12 interactive learning experience booths on nutrition and health topics for 55 elementary after school students. This activity provided the students with a unique, enriching, hands-on, learning experience.
- An Earth Day event at the Ferguson Township Elementary School was sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Savage Williams and her Community Nutrition 456 students in the planning and implementation of 10 interactive learning experience booths that approximately 380 students rotated through. This activity provided the students with a unique, enriching, hands-on, learning experience. As part of this event, the center partnered with Leslie Pillen, sustainable Student Farm Design Coordinator at Penn State University, in installing a community garden at the school.
- CCOR's Katie McNitt, RD, attended Camp Energy, a week-long camp where youth ages 11-18 who have or are at risk of overweight/obesity interact in nutrition and exercise education. The vision of this camp is to develop healthy habits in youth to prevent and treat obesity and provide a support network for youth in this endeavor. Activities included hands-on opportunities to try new physical activities, recording food and exercise, trying new foods in a positive atmosphere, learning to cook healthy meals, and incorporating attainable goal setting into daily life.
- CCOR hosted an outreach event at the YMCA where quick, healthy meals & snacks were discussed with nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet. A food tasting for 32 YMCA campers, aged 6-12 years was offered at the YMCA of Centre County held at 115 W. Streamside Place, Springe Mills, PA. CCOR staff coordinated event plans, interfaced with community partners, and implemented all activities in the field.
- PRESS: Nutritional science class reaches younger audience with educational event (Penn State News)
Green Smoothie Demos
CCOR participated in green smoothie demonstrations at Park Forest Elementary and Radio Park Elementary schools where we served green smoothies tastings to over 500 children and provided nutrition education on dark green vegetables and fruit.