The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone web content I developed last spring for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is now live on TogetherCounts.com, and I’m excited to see kids already participating in these first weeks of September.
Developed to complement the existing standards-based Energy Balance 101 curriculum for grades K-5, the Enrichment Zone is a flexible program designed for after-school programs, clubs and community organizations across the country.
I’ve had a hard time explaining to people what it is, who it’s for and who’s behind it, so here’s the skinny:
HWCF + Together Counts!
What is the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation? It is a CEO-led coalition of over 200 organizations working together to help families and schools reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. With corporate heads from General Mills, Inc., Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.; Kraft Foods and Kellogg’s; Anytime Fitness and Sports Authority; Hershey, Nestlé and Mars at the table, the impact is significant.
How is Michelle Obama involved? In May 2010 the First Lady, founder of initiatives like Let’s Move! and Partnership for a Healthier America, announced with HWCF companies their pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories annually by the end of 2015. These changes are being made through new lower-calorie options, reduced calorie content of current products, and reduced portion sizes of existing single-serving products.
HWCF + Discovery Education
Next the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation set its sight on the nation’s elementary schools. Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, the Energy Balance 101 program provides schools with a free online K-5 curriculum and resources to help kids lead healthier, more active lifestyles.
Building on the success of its program in the schools, EB 101 began extending its reach to the home and out in the community. Fueled by a successful brand and social media campaign, the TogetherCounts movement has a wide following (and 12,000 followers on Twitter!). Check out this cute and super-quick Together Counts! animation to get what the movement what it’s all about:
Watch: What is Together Counts?
The next phase is underway. HWCF is rolling out programs and activities for kids, parents, families and community groups outside of school. Here’s where I come in. The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone is now being used by after-school teachers, Girl Scout leaders, parents… pretty much anyone interested. More flexible than the in-school curriculum, it is modular in format to suite a range of programs and schedules.
The lessons and activities incorporate and reinforce Energy Balance 101 concepts; promote physical activity after school and on weekends; and inspire students to make healthy choices and be mindful of their daily Energy Balance for life.
Organizations like the following have already signed on as Enrichment Zone partners:
- Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
- U.S. Soccer Foundation
- National Recreation and Park Association
- K. Kellogg Foundation
- Gen Youth Foundation
- Paul Pierce’s The Truth onHealth
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Although separated into different web sites last year, all of the above can now be found in one place: TogetherCounts.com.
Here you’ll find interactive features and active social media channels for schools, homes and community organizations. It’s a fun way to track who’s doing what in K-5 schools across the country.
Check out the blogs, tweets and posts from schools and organizations already actively participating. I’ll be helping out with a pilot after-school program at Inly School in Scituate, MA and will blogging about the experience along the way. I’ll keep you posted!
Links and Resources:
Michelle Obama’s speech at the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation partnership announcement
Mars Candy And Michelle Obama Are Making Candy Bars Smaller — And Twitter Is FREAKING Out