Thanks to a new healthy policy passed by a Mt. Diablo Unified School district’s Afterschool Program, over 275 kindergarteners across Central and East Contra Costa County are ensured quality opportunities for healthy eating and active play. This past fall, Mt. Diablo CARES (Collaborative for Academics Recreation and Enrichment for Students) adopted a comprehensive wellness policy that ensures the program will provide quality healthy eating, active living programming to all students, families, and communities that the program serves. Program-wide the policy reaches 2,100 students grades K-12 at 15 school sites in Bay Point, Concord and Pleasant Hill.
Through the passage of this policy, Mt. Diablo CARES staff have demonstrated their commitment to serving as positive role models and promoting healthier eating habits among youth and families. For example, it has become a part of their program culture to ensure that only healthy foods and beverages are provided at meetings and events. “The impact of the policy has been very positive with staff, students, and parents,” remarked Rosa Palomino, Nutrition Coordinator. “The children look forward to the activities and are excited to take it back home to their families.”
Through the policy, staff offer students a comprehensive curriculum focused on healthy eating and physical activity promotion. At school events, students showcase the importance of nutrition and healthy eating by having a Re-Think Your Drink station where students and parents learn about the health harming effects of sugary beverages and sample a variety of fruits water recipes. Students also have a garden—a teaching tool that helps students make the seed-to-table connection. Each day after school, all participating students receive a healthy snack that consists of fat-free or reduced-fat milk, fruit, and crackers. Before the students head home for the evening, they receive a healthy supper. Mt. Diablo CARES also provides a minimum of 30 minutes a day and up to 60 minutes per day of structured physical activity using pre-approved CATCH & SPARKS physical education curriculum. The program provides indoor and outdoor area for movement and play equipment and music that encourages physical activity.
HAB45 congratulates Mt. Diablo CARES Afterschool Program, and the 19 Contra Costa partners that passed healthy policies in 2014. Together, we’re making Contra Costa a healthier place for young children and their families.