Kids and Adults Together After School

OASIS Institute/San Antonio OASIS Center

Field of Work: Increasing physical activity and healthy eating among children and improving public policy and neighborhood physical environments to better accommodate healthy living.

Problem Synopsis: Since the mid-1970s, overweight and obesity have increased among adults, children and adolescents.

Synopsis of the Work: Active for Life®: Generations Working Together to Prevent Childhood Obesity (Generations) (August 2005 through July 2008) awarded grants to four organizations, all previous recipients of grants under RWJF's Active for Life®: Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older national program. Generations' four grantee organizations created and implemented program and policy change projects that paired adults with children ages 3 to 12. The Generations program targeted minority children in low-income communities at risk for obesity.

OASIS, founded in 1982, seeks to enrich the lives of mature adults by engaging them in lifelong learning and service programs so they can learn, lead and contribute in their communities. The 26 OASIS centers serve 360,000 people annually in communities around the country. The San Antonio OASIS built on its ongoing relationship with local schools to meet the first aim of Generations—reducing childhood obesity by pairing young children with older adults.

OASIS staff and staff from the school district identified two schools with high concentrations of low-income and Hispanic students to pilot Generations.

Key Results: The San Antonio site linked up with CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), an evidence-based school health program. Active for Life helped local staff understand how to use evidence-based programs in its services.

Some 45 children at two elementary schools participated in CATCH. After participating in CATCH, these children:

  • Ate healthier foods. They ate more beans, vegetables and fruit and drank 100 percent fruit juice more often. They ate less sweet food, but their consumption of French fries and chips did not change.
  • Watched less TV and videos during the week and on weekends. Kids also spent less time playing computer and video games or surfing the Internet.
  • Exercised more. The number of children reporting aerobic activity of 20 minutes or more the previous day increased. More kids participated in organized sports as well.
  • Knew more about making healthy food choices. Kids were asked to choose between pictures that paired a healthy food choice with a less healthy one—skim milk vs. whole, for example. For eight of the 10 pairings, the number of kids making the correct (healthier) choice went up after CATCH compared to before.

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