2011-12 Healthy Change in Your Community Challenge (HC3)
On Thursday, May 10, approximately 100 children ages 7 to 13 from across the greater Birmingham area came together to celebrate completion of the second annual Healthy Change in Your Community Challenge, co-sponsored by the CCTS and McWane Science Center. The challenge consists of a series of activities designed to educate young students on healthy eating and active lifestyles. This series of events kicked off in September 2011 with five groups of children from the Greater Birmingham area. Each group had an opportunity to learn about the science of health and nutrition, and to design and implement their own community-based health project. The HC3 lasted eight months and provided free programs including a Nutrition Boot Camp sleepover at McWane Science Center in January, and a series of monthly mentoring and educational programs, as well as start-up funds for their projects.
The winning group, Girl and Boy Scout Troops 412 & 191, wrote a script and filmed all segments, from deciding on what food to buy to preparing a meal for their communities. They invited neighborhood children to a community dinner and provided information as to why the items being served were healthy choices. Prior to serving the meal, the group also hosted outdoor games with the children, emphasizing outdoor play and exercise.
Having completed its second year, the HC3 is on track to continue for a third year, with three of the five groups expressing an interest in participating again. At the program’s outset last fall, 85 children were measured to track their heights and weights. They were measured again at the final awards ceremony in May to note changes and teach them about their own health. At the awards ceremony, attendees were allowed to choose from both healthy and less-healthy food options, for example grilled versus fried chicken; fresh fruit versus chocolate cake. An evaluations team was on hand surveying diners to see what choices they made, and ask why they picked what they picked. Data collected from the event is still being evaluated, but some of the comments participants made about what they learned include:
§ I learned that you should never give up
§ I learned that if I don’t eat healthy my life will change drastically
§ About nutrition facts on food, boxes you like
§ How to plant a garden and how much fat is in everyday meals
§ To be involved with others in the church and community
§ Creative skills in eating healthy
§ To look at the nutrition chart closely
The Closing Ceremony of HC3 was held Thursday, May 10, 2012. The five participating groups came together at the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham to celebrate completion of the HC3. Read about the event here.
Local media coverage at the event included FOX-6 and the Birmingham News . UAB Media also highlighted the event: Birmingham kids fighting obesity epidemic in unique way.
Mikle, participant from Better Basics, is measured by a UAB School of Health Professions student at the HC3 closing event on May 10, 2012.