Soccer, Scout and 4-H Programs Rally Around Healthy Snacks

4-H club leader Katy Duval shops for healthy snacks for her club.

Soccer, Scout and 4-H Programs Rally Around Healthy Snacks

July 09, 2014

Pilot Program with Hannaford Supermarkets Encourages Healthy Eating

(July 9, 2014) BOSTON, MA – Research indicates that unhealthy snacks have contributed to the rise in childhood obesity rates in the U.S., which have more than doubled in the past three decades. Now children in sixteen soccer, Cub Scout, and 4-H programs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are getting a healthy boost from Hannaford Supermarkets thanks to a pilot program called Snack It Up.  

Created by Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, Snack It Up is an effort to develop innovative and collaborative approaches to childhood obesity prevention.  The goal is to help program leaders serve healthy snacks at meetings and practices by offering a discount on fruits and vegetables at Hannaford Supermarkets. Participating leaders receive weekly coupons for a five-dollar discount on produce items. The pilot program is supported by Newman’s Own Foundation.  Healthy Kids Out of School receives regional support from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

“We developed Snack It Up in response to coaches and program leaders telling us that fruits and vegetables were not easily accessible,” says Christina D. Economos Ph.D., vice chair and director of ChildObesity180, New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, and associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “With the participation of Hannaford and support from Newman’s Own Foundation, we have been able to help these programs provide healthier snack options for children while still staying within their budgets.”  

“Hannaford Supermarkets have long offered tools and resources for our customers who are seeking healthier food options,” said Julie Greene, manager of healthy living for Hannaford. “We are excited to support Snack It Up and make it easier for community programs, coaches and volunteers to offer fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking.”

With the Snack It Up pilot successfully underway, participants are praising the benefits. Van Anderson, a 4-H leader from New Hampshire, said, “The discount has really enabled me to purchase more fruits and vegetables.  Being on a fixed income, I wasn’t able to give the kids the variety of snacks that I can now give them.”

“It’s a great incentive for the leaders to purchase healthier snacks rather than chips or candy,” says Tamara Van Lenten, an assistant cubmaster in Bristol, New Hampshire. “It’s been a terrific program.”

“The pilot sounded like a really good opportunity for me as a club leader to expose my kids to fruits and vegetables that we might not usually be able to purchase,” adds Katy Duval, a 4-H club leader in South Paris, Maine. “The kids have reacted really well to the healthy snacks that we’ve been serving. We were kind of surprised!”

“We are pleased to support the Snack It Up program, which addresses challenging issues around nutrition,” says Lisa Walker, Managing Director of Newman’s Own Foundation. “This is a good example of an innovative program that can make a meaningful difference.”

Coaches and program leaders who are interested in creating a similar collaboration with their own local grocery stores can download a free toolkit at HealthyKidsHub.org/SnackItUp.

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About Healthy Kids Out of School
Healthy Kids Out of School is an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University. The initiative works with leaders around the country to promote three principles for healthy out-of-school time: Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart. The Healthy Kids Hub website (HealthyKidsHub.org) provides resources to support the implementation of these principles. Regional funding for the Healthy Kids Out of School initiative is provided by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, with additional support from Newman’s Own Foundation.

About ChildObesity180:  Aiming for a “180” on Childhood Obesity
Based at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, our premise is unique:  Top national leaders from the private, public, nonprofit, and academic sectors committed to developing, measuring, and implementing evidence-based solutions to reverse the alarming epidemic of childhood obesity in America. For more information, visit www.ChildObesity180.org.

Media Contact:
Jeff Landis
Communications Consultant, Healthy Kids Out of School
(978) 778-8711