Healthy children today, healthy adults tomorrow.


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Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and it’s even more severe in Alabama. One third of Alabama children are either overweight or obese, placing them on the top of obesity charts nationally. Among racial and ethnic minority populations such as African American and Hispanic, obesity rates are even higher.

The MHERC designed the Healthy Happy Kids (HHK) program to teach children how good nutrition and an active lifestyle will help them lead healthier lives. For eight weeks, children in Birmingham City School System after-school programs learn about healthy eating and staying active. Dressed in Healthy Happy Kids aprons and chef hats, the children learn how to make simple and healthy snacks. The children also learn the importance of exercise by playing volleyball, jumping ropes and throwing frisbees. 

Originally launched in 2008, the HHK program has only been able to partner with two schools at a time and has served a total of 1,400 students. However, thanks to the support of partners and community resources, HHK has grown significantly over the past 15 years. Through a recent train-the-trainer program, over 200 after-school care program directors were trained as HHK leaders, provided with a curriculum, and taught how to deliver the lessons. As a result, HHK is now able to reach over 2,300 students across 24 Birmingham schools simultaneously.

 

For more information about Healthy Happy Kids, please email mhercinfo@uabmc.edu.