The Eat Well & Keep Moving Program

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Eat Well & Keep Moving is a school-based program thatequips children with the knowledge, skills, and supportive environment theyneed to lead more healthful lives by choosing nutritious diets and beingphysically active. Research shows that a good diet and adequate physicalactivity can significantly reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases,such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, all of whichcan begin early in childhood. However, many children are not eating the foodand getting the exercise they need to combat these chronic diseases and promotelifeline good health.

The Eat Well & Keep Moving curriculum—which includes classroomlessons for fourth and fifth grade students, physical education lessons, andengaging school-wide campaigns—allows children to learn about nutrition and physicalactivity while building skills in language arts, math, science, and socialstudies. The program was launched in 1993 to provide teachers and school staffwith the tools that students need to lead healthier lives. Initially designedas a joint research project between the Harvard School of Public Health and Baltimore City Public Schools,Eat Well & Keep Moving has evolved into a comprehensive program that can beintroduced in other school systems throughout the country, including urban,suburban, and rural schools. 

Unlike traditional health curricula, Eat Well & KeepMoving is a multifaceted program encompassing all aspects of the learningenvironment, from the classroom, cafeteria, and gymnasium to the schoolhallways, the home, and even community centers. This comprehensive approachhelps reinforce important messages about nutrition and physical activity, and itincreases the chance that students will eat well and keep moving throughouttheir lives. The program is also proven to be effective at combating a major factor related to childhood obesity: too much time watching television. In extensive field tests among students and teachers using the program, children ate more fruits and vegetables, reduced their intake of saturated and total fat, watched less TV, and improved their knowledge of nutrition and physical activity.(1) Above all, the program is well liked by teachers and students.

The program is designed to use existing school resources, tofit within school curricula, and to be inexpensive to implement, with camera-ready teaching materials, so teachers and schools find it easy to adopt. Schools are hard-pressed to find time for "extra" subjects; with the integrated design of Eat Well & Keep Moving, nutrition and physical activity can be taught by classroom teachers in core subject areas (including math, language arts, and science). Since the publication of the first edition of Eat Well &Keep Moving in 2001, the program has reached all 50 U.S. states and more than 20countries. The second edition, published in October 2007, has been updated toincorporate the latest scientific recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Notably, the new edition also includes two new lessons on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, a keydeterminant of child overweight.

To see sample lessons, teacher training materials, and more information about Eat Well & Keep Moving, visitthe Eat Well & Keep Moving website, www.eatwellandkeepmoving.org.

 

References

1. Gortmaker SL, Cheung LW, Peterson KE, Chomitz G, Cradle JH, Dart H, Fox MK, Bullock RB, Sobol AM, Colditz G, Field AE, Laird N. Impact of a school-based interdisciplinary intervention on diet and physical activity among urban primary school children: eat well and keep moving. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153:975-83.

 

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The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.