Crunch Time—Challenges and Solutions for Families

An RWJF-supported poll, "Children and Weight: Crunch Time During the American Work and School Week—3 p.m. to Bed," reveals that many parents face a variety of barriers to helping their children lead healthy lives, especially during the "crunch time" from 3 p.m. to bed. But what’s behind these trends? Our work reveals why it can be difficult for families across America to make healthy choices. But it also highlights pockets of progress—changes that are helping parents and kids eat healthier and be active.

Physical Activity After School

The Untapped Potential of After-School Programs

More than 8 million children and teens spend an average of eight hours per week in after-school programs. But research shows that children in such programs get just half as much daily physical activity as is recommended. After-school programs can contribute to children’s overall daily physical activity, but their potential impact is far from being realized.

Learn more about after-school time

The Real Snack Story

Children and Teens Are Snacking More Than Ever

Snacking is a growing trend among young people, and many have easy access to junk foods and sugary drinks. A study conducted in Philadelphia found that students could buy snacks and drinks that added up to almost 360 calories for only about $1 at corner stores. But some stores and schools are making an effort to promote healthier fare.

Learn more about snacks and drinks

Safe Places to Walk and Play Near Home

Many Kids Lack Safe Places to Walk, Bike, Play

Many people—especially those at high risk for obesity—live in communities that lack parks and have unsafe sidewalks, dangerous traffic, and high crime rates. Adding bike lanes, repairing sidewalks, installing traffic calming devices, and other changes can make it easier for kids and familiels to be active.

Learn more about promoting physical activity in communities

Healthy Meal Time

Healthy Meals Are a Challenge for Many

Today, families face a wide variety of barriers that make it difficult to serve healthy meals. Most parents and children have busy schedules and  many families, especially those living in lower-income communities and communities of color, lack access to healthy affordable foods. But communities that do reinvest in grocery stores often see both health and economic benefits.

Learn more about access to healthy foods

Marketing to Kids

Marketing Reaches Kids Online and on TV

Food and beverage companies use a wide range of strategies to market unhealthy products to young people—especially African-American and Hispanic youths—via cell phones, TV, video games, and virtual worlds. To date, industry self-regulation has been largely ineffective. Studies show that stronger guidelines are needed to protect youths from unhealthy food marketing.

Learn more about marketing to kids

44%

of kids have parents who say it's hard to help them eat a healthy diet

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