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UC-FSNEP collaborates with a Healthy Lifestyle Fitness Camp

The Issue

Physical education testing indicates more than a third of Fresno County 5th-, 7th-, and 9th-graders do not meet health fitness guidelines. Nutrition and physical activity are components in preventing obesity and chronic disease. During summer vacation children should consume seasonal foods and have time for physical activity. Yet, low-income children in families that depend on school lunch often miss a healthy meal and are inactive, staying indoors while their parents work.

What Has ANR Done?

UC Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (UC-FSNEP) in Fresno County was one of 14 partners to collaborate with the City of Fresno's Parks and Recreation Healthy Lifestyle Fitness Camp. This six-week summer day camp was designed to educate 50 underprivileged youth ages 10 to 18 about healthy living. Most participants were overweight and all were unfit. UC Cooperative Extension's role included:
  • Delivering eight nutrition education lessons to parents in English and Spanish. Each lesson included physical activity, food demonstrations and recipes
  • Training Parks and Recreation staff on UC EatFit curriculum and food safety
  • Collaborating with SaveMart Supermarket for nutrition education and tasting experiences
  • Evaluating camp results
  • Conducting parent focus groups six weeks after camp

The Payoff

Parents and kids improved their nutrition and physical activity behaviors

Evaluation of participating parents revealed 83 percent improved in reading food labels, 72 percent ate low-fat foods, 67 percent ate healthier foods, and 48.5 percent increased fruit and vegetable variety. Parent focus groups showed continued success with shopping and planning meals, reading food labels and increased physical activity.

More than 70 percent of the children improved lifestyle activity behaviors, 53 percent increased lifestyle knowledge, and 47 percent improved food selection practices. Partners' data revealed kids had a cumulative weight loss of 279 pounds, a loss of 58.5 waistline inches, and improved blood pressure. The data suggest children who had the greatest camp success were also the children whose parents attended the nutrition classes.


Supporting Unit:

Fresno County and UC FSNEP
Connie Schneider, (559) 456-7142, cschneider@ucdavis.edu