Promoting Healthier Lifestyles for Young Children: Kid Power
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Childhood obesity is a prevalent issue in contemporary American society. The National Institute of health estimates that 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese and 1 in 6 children are obese. These startling numbers may be due to the lack of access to proper healthy nutrition that many families suffer from as well as the high cost of eating well. The MAXIMUS Foundation has partnered with Kid Power to address this national epidemic.
Kid Power is a nonprofit which specializes in promoting leadership skills in local youth. Serving 425 different D.C. elementary and middle school students through a variety of after-school and summer programs, Kid Power works to give students strong academic skills and to encourage civic engagement.
The MAXIMUS Foundation supports the VeggieTime Project which gives students in D.C. a free opportunity to learn about sustainability, how to live a healthy life style, and the importance of good nutrition. Given that 3 out of 10 D.C. children suffer from nutritional hardship and 35% of students are overweight, this type of programming is much needed in the region. With Kid Power, students have a chance to get their hands dirty creating school gardens, and to learn how to make healthy recipes through cooking classes.
The results in students have been clear. One student described the program saying, "In VeggieTime, I learn to cook new foods with different flavors, and I get to be part of gardening which is something I can't do around my neighborhood.” Kid Power’s VeggieTime program gives children a unique opportunity to learn while growing plants and creating nutritious food. MAXIMUS Foundation contributions to the VeggieTime program have helped D.C. students learn how to be active, healthy and environmentally conscious.