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Adult with children playing with ball. Text: Eat healthy be active

Eat Healthy, Be Active

Eat Healthy, Be Active is an initiative to improve young children’s health and well-being by teaching key nutrition and physical activity concepts. The initiative focuses on families and early childhood settings, including preschool, kindergarten, child care, and early learning classrooms, as well as family child care homes. Our goal is to increase 3- to 5-year old children’s knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity by teaching them key concepts through hand-on, developmentally appropriate activities.

Elements of Eat Healthy, Be Active

  • A flexible 3-week schedule of hands-on activities for early childhood settings
  • Weekly review activities to reinforce the concepts over the year
  • Family involvement materials to expand children’s and families’ learning at home
  • Resource kits of materials for loan in Georgia
  • Teacher training and support
  • Ongoing evaluation

What Makes Eat Healthy, Be Active Different?

Eat Healthy, Be Active was created by a collaborative team of faculty members at The University of Georgia with expertise in child development, early learning, and nutrition. This collaborative approach enables us to combine research in the areas of nutrition and child development to create materials that are both nutritionally sound and developmentally appropriate for young children. Eat Healthy, Be Active also considers children’s learning within the context of the family and the early learning environment. The following are some ways this initiative is unique.

  • Hands-on activities cover most areas of a typical early childhood curriculum (e.g., large group, art, music, math, science, outdoor play, dramatic play, children’s literature)
  • Activities are pilot-tested with 3- to 5-year-olds, and revised based on children's responses and teacher feedback
  • Activities include suggested language to encourage early literacy
  • Activities can be adapted for a variety of settings, both indoors and outdoors
  • Family involvement materials (including family backpacks, biweekly newsletters, family night meetings, and other materials) are included to make connections between home and early learning environment

5 Key Concepts

Eat Healthy, Be Active centers on five key concepts about nutrition and physical activity that are developmentally appropriate for 3- to 5-year-old children. These key concepts were developed based on nutrition and child development research. Each component (including hands-on activities, family involvement activities, and training workshops) reinforces at least one of these key concepts.

  1. Eat breakfast
  2. Eat a variety of foods
  3. Stop eating when you're full
  4. Drink water
  5. ​Be physically active

Sample Activities

Interested in seeing what the Eat Healthy, Be Active classroom activities look like? Take a look at the following sample activities.

Healthy Bear Says, "Choose MyPlate"

Help Healthy Bear introduce children to MyPlate and the five food groups, and encourage children to identify food pictures and place them in the corresponding food group.

Type of activity: Large Group

Key concept: Eat a variety of foods

Fruit Salad Foot Races

Lead children in a relay race as they run to collect pretend fruits for a fruit salad.

Type of activity: Outdoor

Key concept: Eat a variety of foods

Mystery Fruit Box

Encourage children to reach into a box, describe what they feel, and predict what fruit it might be.

Type of activity: Math

Key concept: Eat a variety of foods

View Activities

Family Involvement

Involving families in teaching healthy eating and physical activity to preschoolers is an essential component of Eat Healthy, Be Active. The initiative includes a variety of family involvement strategies designed to reinforce the 5 key concepts and to make connections between home and early childhood program.

Materials

Early childhood teachers can involve families in childhood obesity prevention using a variety of family involvement strategies. Family involvement materials currently in development include the following:

  • Family newsletters, with information for families and activities for the whole family to do together
  • Family night workshops to introduce families to key nutrition and physical activity topics
  • Weekly or monthly family activity calendars, with simple activities families can do together at home
  • Family backpacks with hands-on activities that families can complete together at home

Family Newsletters

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