Obesity is a major health issue that can impact a child’s ability to learn, and lead a healthy life. More than a third (39.9%
) of Boston Public Schools students are overweight or obese. Environments that promote good nutrition and physical activity are important contributors to obesity prevention. Since children spend most of their time either in school or in out-of-school time (OST) programs, schools and community partners are vital links in creating environmental changes that support children to make healthier decisions.
To assist OST programs with the resources and support needed to ensure healthy environments for the youth served, The Boston Public Health Commission has partnered with the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center to implement the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative (OSNAP).
OSNAP works with after-school and summer programs to establish and expand healthy food, beverage physical activity and screen reduction time practices and policies. This support is provided through a series of three Learning Community training sessions. Participating programs apply what they learn in the training, work with OSNAP staff throughout the school year and network with other OST programs on successful strategies being used in Boston through the Learning Community. Additionally, they receive skill-based training on examining their own nutrition and physical activity environments, practices and policies, as well as free evidence-based curriculum and resources to support making healthy changes during their programs.
OSNAP staff and trainings help out-of-school time programs meet the following goals:
- Provide all children with at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day
- Offer 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity 3 times per week.
- Offer water as a beverage at snack every day.
- Do not serve sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Do not allow sugar-sweetened drinks to be brought in during program time
- Eliminate use of commercial broadcast TV/movies.
- Limit computer and digital device time to homework or instructional only.
- Offer a fruit or vegetable option every day at snack.
- When serving grains (like bread, crackers, and cereals), serve whole grains.
- Do not serve foods with trans fats.
Interested in making your child’s after school environment healthier? Click here to see how your after-school program can sign up for OSNAP.