Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention addresses unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and their impact on individual and community health through work with youth from age 12 to 18. Through classes at YOU Alternative High School at the Rita Walters Learning Complex, The Children’s Collective, Inc. engages youth in leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving and community-based research to identify barriers to healthy food consumption and physical exercise and strategies to reduce those barriers.
About 50 African –American and Latino youth participate in the program each year, and increase their healthy beverage consumption through the Rethink Your Drink activities. Students learn about the high sugar and empty caloric content of many commercial beverages and are encouraged to reduce consumption by creating healthy hydration (water) stations on campus.
Students learn to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into meals and snacks and engage in taste-tests of unfamiliar foods. Finally, students increase their physical activity through Open Gym participation twice each week, which includes active sports as well as dance and aerobics.
NEOP also impacts the community. It participates in community outreach to share nutrition, health and physical activity information at community festivals and other events. This summer it expects to distribute cook books, and information on healthy beverages and simple exercises to more than 1000 people.