For immediate release: February 27, 2014
Monica Hobbs Vinluan Director, Healthier Communities Initiatives; YMCA of the USA
Jean Wiecha Health Promotion Scientist
Ellen Gannett Director, National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College
The Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Coalition applauds the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (the Alliance) for their recent announcement to create healthy environments for children who participate in out-of-school time (OST) programs. With this announcement, NRPA and BGCA join the YMCA of the USA in committing to implement Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards that ensure more than 14 million kids are getting the healthiest care possible during out-of-school time. NRPA, BGCA, PHA, the YMCA of the USA and the Alliance are among 42 organizations and individuals representing direct service providers and professional development and resource suppliers that champion the National AfterSchool Association HEPA Standards through the HOST Coalition. Members of the HOST Coalition provide a range of support for the OST field, from curricula and toolkits to research and articles, to help make implementation of the HEPA standards as easy as possible.
Currently at least 8.4 million children participate in afterschool programs across the United States. When also including other youth, such as those who participate in summer programs, the out-of-school time realm represents a significant opportunity to ensure healthier settings for our kids. Encouraging organizations, large and small, to commit to improving access to healthy foods and physical activity will help our children live healthier lives and help reduce childhood obesity rates in the U.S.
About The Healthy Out of School Time Coalition: In January 2009, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, together with Dr. Jean Wiecha and the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), collaborated to found the Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition (HOST Coalition). The vision for this national coalition of leaders in the OST field is to foster health and wellbeing practices in afterschool programs nationwide, using science-based standards for healthy eating, physical activity, screen time and social supports for these behaviors including staff, family and child engagement. For more information visit http://www.niost.org/HOST-Program/.