Busy Month Ahead for Kids in the Kitchen

kitkApril will be a busy month for Kids in the Kitchen!

April 15 we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Little Chef event at the Boys and Girls Club Guadalupe.  We will be feeding 20 families a health catered meal, we’ll be discussing with them nutritional topics and lessons, doing a fun exercise and then having the families work together to prepare two healthy meals to take home.  Last year this event was SO much fun and we are excited to be doing it again this year and hosting more families!  Shifts are up on the calendar.

April 23 we will be hosting our very first KITK University.  We will be training youth education coordinators from various Boys and Girls Club branches on how to take our monthly lessons and incorporate them into their after school programs.  An ASU professor will teach the coordinators about food insecurity and obesity, as well as having the coordinators mock a lesson so that they understand the content.  Looking forward to this continued partnership and our content continuing to impact children in the valley!

Passport to Health with Kids in the Kitchen

Kitk logo Junior League of Phoenix Kids in the Kitchen (KITK) was able to reach and impact 430 kids this year at Touch-A-Truck! When families arrived to the event in November children were given a Passport game card. The Passports took kids and families through various stations for activities geared toward healthy lifestyles. A stamp was given at each of the stations and after visiting all five Passport stations, children were given a reusable, collapsible water bottle as a special prize from Kids in the Kitchen! The water bottles will encourage healthy life choices by adding fun to staying hydrated.

kitk passport

The Passport took families to the helicopter where movement while standing in line was encouraged, to the Fresh Express bus where they were able to buy a piece of produce or create “Produce Rainbows,” to the Cookbook station where children were guided in finding their favorite vegetable in a recipe using the Index, to the KITK booth where they played “Eat This Not That” hopscotch and to ROCKETS for the Chemical Makeup of Water (H2O).

The passports were a huge success overall, and we hope to welcome them back again next year!

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

In case you missed it, President Obama again proclaimed September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. And you probably did miss it, as the media seem to have moved on from their earlier focus on the problem – but that doesn’t mean this health epidemic has gone away!

While there have been some positive signs – overall, childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and there has been a drop in obesity rates in children 2 to 5 years old – there is still much to be done. Government data indicates that even though rates for children have remained stable, about 17% of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 (an alarming 12.7 million children!) are obese. Add to that number the children who are considered merely overweight and that jumps to more than 30%. The commitment to the fight against childhood obesity must continue.photo-1423483641154-5411ec9c0ddf

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative began in 2010, and was backed up by a Presidential Memorandum that established the first national task force on childhood obesity that drew on the departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Education. Although the program has brought about significant change thus far, notably the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, Mrs. Obama’s initiative was never about immediate results, however. “When we started Let’s Move, we wanted to end our epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids growing up today would develop different habits and they would grow up healthier, and they would grow up with the tools and the information they need — would need to make good choices,” she stated in 2012.

10710345_10152436429182218_2918400778553332135_oAnd that’s what Junior League‘s Kids in the Kitchen is about as well – lasting change that begins with the education of children and their parents about the importance of good nutrition.

Children’s health and wellness has been a key issue for Junior Leagues since our founding in 1901, and in fact, Kids in the Kitchen was established four years before Let’s Move! Now in its 10th year, and with programs in more than 200 Leagues in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K., KITK has grown into one of the most-successful, all-volunteer efforts in the fight against childhood obesity.

The award-winning program was selected by Kashi, the premier natural food company, to be a featured REAL PROJECT partner in 2013 on 1.8 million boxes of their Cinnamon Harvest Cereal. And Kashi has further recognized the innovative work of numerous individual Leagues in addressing healthy eating and nutrition among children at the community level through generous grants.

*This article was originally published in connected, an official publication of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., and has been reprinted with permission.