How to Curb Summertime Weight Gain for America’s Youth
A Society of Behavioral Medicine Call to Action
LOCAL SCHOOL OFFICIALS, COMMUNITY LEADERS, AND POLICYMAKERS CAN HELP
School-age youth gain weight faster in the summer. This negates healthy weight loss achieved during the school year and contributes to America’s obesity epidemic.
Youth summer programs can help, but not enough children enroll and most programs don’t have the staffing, space, funding, or expertise to combat weight gain.
Promote summer programs. Make sign up easy.
Create a single office for managing and promoting all area summer programs. Marketing efforts can be more targeted and robust. Parents can have a one-stop-shop for getting information and signing up.
Reduce expenses and participant fees.
Enter into low- or no-cost joint-use agreements to share existing indoor and outdoor athletic facilities for hosting summer programs.
Partner to host programs. Partnerships can allow efficiencies and cost reductions.
Use local education taxes to subsidize fees for low-income families.
Train staff on physical activity and nutrition.
Seek private or public funding to train staff on how to meet kids’ physical activity and healthy eating needs.
Use the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards, which spell out how summer programs can help youth meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity and nutrition recommendations.