Nat Hutton, program coordinator of Pacific Oasis teaches kids about fiber during one of the CATCH program’s health lessons. (courtesy photo)
The program engages adults and youth in adopting healthier habits and lifestyles for life.
For eight weeks at a time, senior citizen volunteers at the Oasis centers in Los Angeles (one at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw and one in Westside) are teaching kids in their communities how to have a healthier after school experience. Each one hour session consists of a health lesson, a snack time and 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity. The program is called CATCH Healthy Habits, the CATCH meaning Coordinated Approach to Child Health.
“[The program] started here about six years ago,” explained Nat Hutton, program coordinator for Pacific Region Oasis.
“It was called Active Generation, an intergenerational program. They switched to CATCH in the last two years.”
Children come to the program by way of classroom or after school presentations by Oasis volunteers.
Why an intergenerational approach? Because, said program officials, it “will engage adults, age 50+ and children to advocate for healthy eating and active living policy and environment changes at the community level.”
OASIS is in a unique position to build upon its capacity to reach thousands of children, older adults and other priority populations through its national network of centers, hundreds of multi-sectoral partnering organizations, and local community champions, to enact policy and environment changes that positively impact the physical activity and nutrition of children, adults 50+, and their communities,” they said.
Since 2008, a national survey has revealed that since CATCH’s inception:
· reported eating more servings of fruits and vegetables
· improved their knowledge of the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and read food nutrition labels more frequently
· decreased the number of TV shows or movies watched and video games played each week
· were more confident that they could participate in physical activity three to five times per week, participate in physical activity in after school programs, run or bike during the week and run at a steady pace for at least 15 minutes
· increased their vegetable consumption and were more likely to read nutrition labels
“We have all kinds of great snacks,” said Hutton.
“For example there’s ants on a log (celery topped with peanut butter and raisins), fruit kabobs, trail mix, yogurt, apples…”
For exercise, Hutton said, activities will vary.
“We do jump rope, hula hoops… we also have a game called popcorn, where we put balls in the middle of a giant parachute and the children have to grab it and keep the balls in the air.”
The CATCH program is funded by WellPoint Foundation and is implemented in fourteen states across the country.
For more information visit www.catchhealthyhabits.org or call 323.291.3414.