Healthy Kids Challenge

Healthy Kids Challenge

Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC) supports schools and communities in educating kids and their families to “Eat, Move, and Enjoy a Healthy Balance.”1 Led by registered, licensed dietitians, this nonprofit organization utilizes school curriculum, workshops, presentations, events, and distance assistance tools, such as their website and newsletters. Their focus is on making healthy eating and active play practices become attractive, simple, and fun for kids.2

In 1998, Cooking Light and Center Street Middle School in Birmingham, Alabama joined forces in a “kids-parents-teachers” project to encourage healthy eating and activity habits. Under Vickie L. James, RD, LD, the initiative was successful and spread to four other schools the following year. By 2000, over 600 schools were involved in the Healthy Kids Challenge.3

With the increased interest in the Healthy Kids Challenge, it was decided to become a nonprofit and free-standing entity, though Cooking Light remains a strong sponsor. As such HKC has continued to grow throughout the United States and in Australia, Japan, and Canada as well.4

Utilizing the Hear-See-Do approach of education,5 Healthy Kids Challenge bases their classroom and youth programs on the Healthy6: Breakfast GO Power; Fruits & Veggies – Every Day the Tasty Way; Drink Think; Smart Servings; Active Play, Balance My Day; and Snack Attack.6 Rather than focus on weight and obesity, HKC seeks to show, inside and outside of the classroom, that healthy habits are possible and desirable.

Active Play, Balance My Day, for instance, includes a “Move and Learn” activity with each lesson. They also support the Let’s Move! initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama and the HealthierUS School Challenge.7

Besides programs for teachers and youth leaders, Healthy Kids Challenge also provides support for school administrators and leaders in establishing healthy policies and practices within schools and communities. For parents and other interested adults, HKC has the “KidLink” program where they can Take the Challenge themselves and can assist other kids to do the same. A monthly free E-newsletter, My Healthy Challenge of the Month, offers three to five such challenges each month for focus and support.8

An early supporter of Healthy Kids Challenge has been CIGNA, who helped develop and co-branded six events or programs, including the Mix Six for Healthy Balance Toolkit, the Walk Through the Pyramid marathon, and the Ready, Set, Cook, and Eat event. Other HKC sponsors include Del Monte, Nestle, Aquafina, Mission Foods, Kraft, Campbell's, Lifeway Foods, and Arby's.9

Healthy Kids Challenge has received the American Dietetic Association Anita Owen Award for Most Innovative Educational Program and the Advertising Council Community Action Network (CAN) Service award for Media & Corporate Communities for Outstanding Solutions to Social Problems.10

  • 1. “How HKC Works to Help Kids.” Healthy Kids Challenge. < > 27 Oct. 2011.
  • 2. “What is Healthy Kids Challenge.” Healthy Kids Challenge. < > 27 Oct. 2011.
  • 3. “HKC Media Partner.” Healthy Kids Challenge. < > 27 Oct. 2011.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. “Evidence-Based Strategies at Healthy Kids Challenge.” Healthy Kids Challenge. < > 27 Oct. 2011.
  • 6. Op.cit., “How HKC Works to Help Kids.”
  • 7. Op.cit., “Evidence-Based Strategies at Healthy Kids Challenge.”
  • 8. Op.cit., “What is Healthy Kids Challenge.”
  • 9. “Corporate Initiatives with HKC.” Healthy Kids Challenge. < > 27 Oct. 2011.
  • 10. Op.cit., “What is Healthy Kids Challenge.”