Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures


Agrawal T, Hoffman JA, Ahl M, Bhaumik U, Healey C, Carter S, Dickerson D, Nethersole S, Griffin D, Castaneda-Sceppa C. Collaborating for impact:  Multilevel early childhood obesity prevention initiative. Journal of Family and Community Health 2012;35(3):192–202.

This article presents Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures, a multilevel initiative in Boston, Massachusetts, which brings major institutions’ missions and resources together to address early childhood obesity prevention. Programming is designed to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity in preschool children’s home, school, and community environments by engaging parents and early childhood educators in the places where they live, learn, and play. This article describes how established interventions were implemented in a novel setting to engage the parents of children attending Head Start and staff, and presents pilot data from the first 2 years of the initiative. Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures is a feasible initiative, which has shown concrete, positive results that can be replicated.

Hoffman JA, Agrawal T, Thompson D, Ferguson T, Grinder A, Carter S, Healey C, Bhaumik U, Castaneda-Sceppa C. Increasing culturally diverse meals in Head Start using a collaborative approach: Lessons learned for school food service modifications. National Head Start Association Dialog 2012;15(3):246–259.

Head Start’s performance standards require that the nutrition programs “serve a variety of foods which consider cultural and ethnic preferences and which broaden the child’s food experience” (Head Start Program Performance Standards and Other Regulations, 2006). In this study, food service modifications were made via a participatory process in 5 Head Start programs to increase culturally diverse meals served while adhering to national nutrition standards. A 2-group quasi-experimental design with 2 data collection periods was used to examine differences in consumption between standardized recipes and culturally diverse meal suggestions from parents and staff. Consumption was measured using weighed plate waste. Culturally diverse foods were eaten at equal or greater levels compared with standardized recipes. Facilitators and barriers associated with initiating and maintaining food service modifications are described.

Hoffman JA, Agrawal T, Carter S, Grinder A, Castaneda-Sceppa C. Cultural/Favorite Recipe Day: Strengthening approaches to increase culturally diverse foods served in Head Start meals. National Head Start Association Dialog 2012;15(3):266–271.

This article summarizes the findings and implications of a study that evaluated food service modifications designed to increase culturally diverse meals served in Head Start programs while adhering to nutrition performance standards in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hoffman JA, Agrawal T, Wirth C, Watts C, Adeduntan G, Myles L, Castaneda-Sceppa C. Farm to Family: Increasing access to affordable fruits and vegetables among urban Head Start families. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 2012;7(2-3):165-177.

This study describes Farm to Family (F2F), a program that facilitates access to affordable produce among low-income families with preschool children. F2F was pilot tested in urban Head Start programs that served as the conduit for weekly produce deliveries from a local farm to families in the form of subsidized farm shares. A mixed-method program evaluation was used to understand the strengths and challenges of the F2F model from the perspectives of farm and Head Start staff, assess family and staff participation rates, examine families’ perceptions of the program, and explore short-term changes in children’s health behaviors.

Castaneda-Sceppa C, Hoffman JA, Thomas J, DuBois M, Agrawal T, Griffin D, Bhaumik U, Healey C L, Dickerson D, Nethersole S, Wirth C. Family Gym: A Model to Promote Physical Activity for Families with Young ChildrenJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 2014;25(3):1101-1107.

This report describes Family Gym, a family-centered model that (1) provides free access to physical activity for low-income families in the inner city; (2) targets young children (3-8 years) and their families; (3) engages families together in physical activity; and (4) stimulates social interaction among families.