YMCA-Harvard Afterschool Food and Fitness

The YMCA–Harvard Afterschool Food and Fitness Project aimed to help afterschool programs and child care providers create healthy environments for children. The HPRC conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation of a YMCA-driven intervention focused on nutrition and physical activity practice changes in 32 afterschool programs across the country.Kids running outside

The program was implemented via an organizational change model, and participating sites utilized the Food & Fun curriculum developed by the HPRC in partnership with the YMCA of the USA. The organizational change model included learning collaboratives, which aim to empower staff to find local methods for achieving specific program changes related to nutrition and physical activity. The YMCA–Harvard Afterschool Food and Fitness Project found improved physical activity in intervention sites, compared to control sites, and our evaluation of early collaboratives has documented the positive impact of the YMCA learning collaboratives on improving snack offerings.

Prior to the formal evaluation, the HPRC worked with the YMCA of the USA to develop Youth Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Out-of-School-Time Programs. These guidelines have been integrated into the organization’s goals and tools for promoting healthy changes.

Principal Investigator: Steven Gortmaker, PhD
Funders: Pritzker Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation
Contact: Rebecca Mozaffarian

Peer-Reviewed Publications



Last updated:  July 7, 2022