Healthy Happy Kids: Healthy Children Today Healthy Adults Tomorrow


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 MHRC designed the Healthy Happy Kids (HHK) program to teach children how good nutrition and an active lifestyle will help them lead healthier lives. For six 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. The t-shirts, jump ropes, frisbees and volleyballs that go home with the children help remind them to keep moving.

The HHK program culminates with an Iron Chef-inspired competition, hosted by a celebrity judge. Local chefs join the children to meet the challenge of creating a healthy, kid-approved dish. Children work with their chef to prepare the food, which ranges from salads and smoothies to more complicated dishes. Children are encouraged to sample each dish. Although there is a winner for the best recipe, the children get to experience how much fun (and how yummy) healthy eating can be.

For more information about Healthy Happy Kids, contact Bianca Hawk, Community Outreach Program Manager, bhawk@uabmc.edu.