Hispanic parents say they are satisfied with healthy options offered by afterschool programs. Afterschool programs serve 3.8 million Hispanic children nationwide. While a majority of parents report being satisfied with the healthy food and variety of physical activity their child’s program offers, there is still a vast unmet need for such programs, particularly among Hispanic families.
The parents of 5.5 million Hispanic children and the parents of the parents of 19.4 million children overall say they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if it were available, according to, “Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” a special report based on responses collected for America After 3PM.
“Afterschool programs are a proven, but sometimes underappreciated, tool in the effort to prevent childhood obesity and physical inactivity,” says Jodi Grant, Executive Director of Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization. “We’ve known for a long time that afterschool, before-school and summer programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working parents. These new data make clear that they also do a tremendous amount to help keep kids healthy, now and for the future.”
The new survey, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that many parents are unaware of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards for afterschool programs, which recommend at least 30 minutes of morning or afterschool program time for physical activity. The report recommends doing more to ensure that afterschool providers, as well as parents, are aware of the HEPA Standards.
According to the report:
• Most parents agree that afterschool programs should provide healthy food and beverage options for children.
• Most parents say that providing healthy food was an important factor in selecting an afterschool program.
White and African-American parents were more likely than Hispanic parents to say that their child’s afterschool program serves snacks that include healthy foods (75 percent and 72 percent versus 63 percent).
• More than eight in 10 Hispanic parents and African-American parents agree that afterschool programs should help children be physically active.
• When asked about opportunities for physical activity, 71 percent of Hispanic parents and 71 percent of African-American parents report that it was very important when selecting their child’s afterschool program.
• An overwhelming majority of Hispanic parents and African-American parents report that their child’s afterschool program does provide opportunities for physical activity.
“The afterschool community is committed to doing even more to stop childhood obesity,” Grant says. “Quality afterschool programs are a vital part of the fabric of our communities, providing a rich array of services children and families need.”
National and state-by-state results from that report and from this special report are available at www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/.
With participation in afterschool programs over the past decade growing from 6.5 million to 10.2 million children, increasing support for these programs from government at all levels, philanthropies, businesses and others is crucial, say experts. (StatePoint)
PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Patricia Lake