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Healthy habits developed at UC Cooperative Extension summer day camp

The Issue

There is a national epidemic of childhood obesity. Experts estimate one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight. Millions of these children face a higher risk of developing obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and heart disease during early adulthood. An effective approach to address the complex issue of childhood overweight is to create environments that promote healthy eating and physically active lifestyles.

What Has ANR Done?

UC Cooperative Extension provided seven weeks of summer day camp experiences for low-income youth, ages 6 to 8 years old. The sessions were held at community centers and elementary school sites. The camp program included nutrition education, cooking, arts and crafts, games and fitness activities. The interactive, hands-on activities taught children about good food habits. The youth prepared snacks, exercised to music, and participated in crafts, kitchen science and gardening activities related to good health and nutrition.

The Payoff

Youth learn the importance of good nutrition

About 100 elementary school-aged youth participate in the nutrition camp program each year. Pre- and post-assessments indicated that 84 percent of the participants increased their knowledge about the importance of eating a variety of nutritious foods. Many began to make healthier snack choices, and practiced hand washing food safety. Additionally, camp participants were asked to share their three favorite camp activities. Eighty-six percent said nutrition-related crafts was a favorite camp activity, 84 percent said preparing nutritious snacks was a favorite activity and 72 percent indicated that physical activity was a favorite.

Clientele Testimonial

“It was fun; got to play games; making veggie man.”

“Had a good time; made new friends; tortilla snack my favorite.”


Supporting Unit: Sacramento County

Yvonne Nicholson, (916) 875-6722, ynicholson@ucdavis.edu