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Reaching children with nutrition and health programming remains a timely issue now and in the future. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the U.S. in the several decades. According to the World Health Organization (2021), 340 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 were overweight or obese as of 2016. Obese children are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, with 70% showing at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Obesity also increases the risk for diabetes, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis.
Meals eaten as a family at home can save money and tend to include less fat, less soda pop and more fruits and vegetables, and they tend to be higher in calcium, fiber and other essential nutrients. The "On the Move to Better Health Kids Cooking School" and the "Kids Baking School" curricula, both developed at a Midwestern U.S. Land Grant University moved forward in new ways during the pandemic and have reached more than 3,000 children face-to-face and virtually, including the results from 1,600 participants reported in this document. The programs used a variety of new approaches to involve not only children, but also their families at home and our community partners. Children showed increased nutrition and food safety knowledge. They reported increased consumption of fruit, vegetable and whole grains, and increased confidence in using kitchen tools. Parents reported increased fruit and vegetable consumption among their children.
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