Facility Profile - April 2009
Find a printable version here

Catching Kids Getting Healthy

Catch Kids Club at Keene Recreation Center in Keene, N.H.

By Dawn Klingensmith

Many organizations successfully use a more structured approach to nutrition education. However, at the Keene Recreation Center, CKC participants seem more likely to adopt healthy eating habits when they feel they are being spoken with as opposed to lectured to, Bohannon said.

"When we first started, we alternated physical activity days with nutrition education days," he explained, adding that now there is no "classroom time" and exercise takes place for a full hour each day, which aligns with the Centers for Disease Control's recommendations.

The children receive recognition and positive reinforcement for bringing healthy snacks from home in the form of stickers on a wall chart.

But feedback from participants and their parents, not stickers, is the true measure of the program's success, Bohannon said.

One parent approached him and quipped, "I didn't realize this program would cost me more than advertised—I had to go out and buy all new snacks because the ones I bought have no nutritional value and my son refuses to eat them."

"I know the program is working," Bohannon said. "In the beginning, kids go off to the side because they can't catch their breath, but eventually they can go for the full hour. Discipline problems go down when they're active."

Bohannon's favorite success story involves a little girl who went off to the side, certain she was gravely ill. Why? Because her forehead was dripping. "She had never perspired before," he said.

Now, she sweats with the best of them, and has fun in the process.


Keene Parks & Recreation: