Albuquerque: Introducing Fresh Snacks to Students

Healthy Eating by Design

Field of Work: Changing local food and nutrition policies and environments for children.

Problem Synopsis: By 2005, approximately 9 million children age 6 and older were considered obese. Part of the problem is that children and families living in low-income communities have limited means to buy and limited access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Synopsis of the Work: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) selected 12 community partnerships participating in its national program Active Living by Design to implement strategies to provide affordable, healthy and appealing food options to children and families by changing local food and nutrition policies and environments. Seven school-based partnerships and five community-based partnerships participated in Health Eating by Design (HED). In Albuquerque, the HED partnership involved the school staff in the development of the program and paid for additional cafeteria staff time and kitchen equipment.

Key Results: HED served as a model for a summer snack program at three local elementary schools. Albuquerque Public Schools also included this protocol as part of its Wellness Policy Resource Guidebook, designed to help schools district-wide meet the wellness policy.

The Albuquerque Healthy Eating by Design project not only increased school staff and parents' awareness of the students' interest in healthy eating, but also induced the principal to create a guideline suggesting that teachers and staff avoid eating unhealthy foods in the presence of students—and in the school's common areas.

The program also had a positive effect at home. One student asked, "Can I take my snack home for my brother? He's never tasted a pear."