Buffalo: Engaging Cafeteria Staff in Food & Fun

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.

Key Results: In Buffalo, students ages 11 to 13 participated in a variety of experiential healthy eating activities, including a weekly salad bar in the school cafeteria, Food & Fun after-school workshops and special projects such as designing a "healthwalk" between the school and neighborhood, painting a healthy eating mural in the school and producing a healthy eating video. Students also exercised their creativity to develop a project slogan: "You are what you eat—don't be a Twinkie®!"