AAFCS Obesity Initiative

How Can I Get Involved?
What Resources Are Available?
Success Stories

Questions or Ideas? Contact Marilyn Swierk, CFCS, AAFCS past president, at msinnovate@aol.com or 727-729-6779. 


Health and nutrition have always been a priority for family and consumer sciences (FCS) professionals. In 2009, President Obama recognized AAFCS founder Ellen Swallow Richards during Women’s History Month for her environmental efforts. One of her many other distinctions was the establishment of the first school lunch program through the New England Kitchen in 1894 in Boston to help ensure that children received nutritious lunches.

In recent years, AAFCS has gathered professionals at a national conference to work on solutions to the obesity epidemic and created a public policy deliberation guide on obesity for citizens to use in forums across the country here.

With the obesity crisis in the U.S. and the new anti-obesity initiative launched in February 2010 by First Lady Michelle Obama, it is time for FCS professionals to increase our efforts and awareness of the research, resources, and programs FCS professionals provide to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The First Lady will encourage involvement by from every sector: community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms, and dads in a nationwide campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. We can and must be involved and take this to the streets, too! 

How Can I Get Involved?

Consider where and how YOU can be involved: Affiliate level? AAFCS Community? FCCLA Chapter? Your 4-H group? Please join forces with us. Take it to the streets, keep us posted, and MAKE sure you link AAFCS and family and consumer sciences to everything you do!

Let the USDA know what you are doing! If you have a promising practice in the field of child nutrition, please complete the form and email it to childnutrition2010@fns.usda.gov or simply email msinnovate@aol.com with your ideas or comments. Make sure you mention family and consumer sciences as they will post appropriate ideas on their website.

What Resources Are Available?

"Taking It to the Streets" PowerPoint Presentation- www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/TISslideshow_6-2012.pdf
View or download a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation created by the "Taking It to the Streets" Leadership Team for the AAFCS 103rd Annual Conference.

Impact of Obesity on Life - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Impact_of_Obesity_Matrix.pdf
View or download a PDF of obesity impact resources that are organized by area of FCS.

"Taking It to the Streets" PowerPoint Presentation- www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/TIS_2011_PPT.pdf
View or download a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation created by the "Taking It to the Streets" Leadership Team for the AAFCS 102nd Annual Conference.

Comprehensive Obesity Prevention Resource Framework - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Child_Obesity_Resource_Framework.pdf
It includes Healthy Habit Rabbit’s Tips, Healthy School Meals, Social and Emotional Implications, Physical Health, Targeted Resources, Other Ideas, Public Policy, Awards and Incentives, and more!

Obesity Prevention Resource Matrix - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Resource_Matrix.pdf
This was designed to help identify some free or low cost resources for your work. The list by no means includes all the information out there but will hopefully save you time in locating materials.

Childhood Obesity Causation Wheel - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Obesity_Causation_Wheel.ppt
Developed by Dr. Janelle Walter & Dr. Bernadette Hascheke and revised by the team in 2011. It highlights the issues of limited physical activity, neighborhood and school issues, inadequate after school supervision, alternate meal choices, and family mealtime. It can be used as a handout, poster, or slide in your work as you educate others in the prevention of obesity.

Exercise Companion Piece - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Exercise_Companion.ppt
Provides simple ideas on how to increase exercise at work or home. Use as a poster, handout, or slide.

Alternative Food Choices Companion Piece - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Alt_Food_Choices.pdf

Family Meal Time Companion Piece - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Family_Meal_Time.pdf

Press Release Template - www.aafcs.org/res/obesity/Obesity_Press_Release_Template.doc
Share your fine work with the media by customizing and distributing this press release!

We Can! Website - www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/ www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/index.htm

New Terminology for Childhood Overweight and Obesity - www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr025.pdf

Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs - http://nrckids.org
Selected Standards from Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd Edition*
Developed by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education 2010

New Campaign Promotes Childhood Obesity Prevention - http://recessrocks.com/
RWJF Center Deputy Director, Mildred Thompson, was interviewed for Community Health Center, Inc.'s new national childhood obesity prevention campaign, Recess Rocks. One component that could relate to FCS is a nationwide video contest that seeks solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic directly from children and adolescents. Visit RecessRocks.com for more details. Middle school programs, service learning programs, FCCLA, or 4-H could be a good fit.

Fuel Up to Play 60 - www.fueluptoplay60.com/

Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) 

Affiliate Letter Template to Send to First Lady Michelle Obama and Letter Samples - click

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution - www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution

Featured Success Stories

Lois Lewis, CFCS, Minnesota Affiliate, 2012 AAFCS National Teacher of the Year

In January, my Foods and Nutrition class took on the "Fuel Up to Play 60" project for our high school. This program is sponsored by the Dairy Council and NFL. We had weeklong events, such as playing NFL flag football in the gym at lunchtime and a pedometer dance off. Other features were Milk Moustache Day, Hallway Exercise Zones, Frost Fest outdoor activities on a Friday night, and promoting pledges to sign up online to do 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Students who pledged and who participated in at least three of the week's activities will be able to attend a pool party at a neighboring school's swimming pool this month! About a third of the high school population pledged, and students in the Foods and Nutrition class learned important information about nutrition and weight management.

Kathy Vik, Alaska Affiliate

Students in Chugiak High School students in both the Family Consumer Science (FCS) and Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) programs researched, planned, and developed a family meal toolkit that provides healthy choices in food and conversation during the time that a family has dinner. The toolkit contains five healthy family meal recipes that incorporate simple, affordable, and healthy food choices. Meal preparation and recipes align with mealtime topics, all related to encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Local, affordable family activities accompany each meal topic to encourage exercise and activities that keep each family engaged in building stronger ties with each other.




Nancy Malafatopoulos, CFCS, Connecticut Affiliate, 2010 AAFCS National Teacher of the Year

I introduced the UnitedHealth Care grant to my FCCLA club members back in the fall. At that point we brainstormed ideas for the grant title. Our members voted on "Triple H (Happy, Healthy Hearts). I wrote the grant, and we received a $500 from UnitedHealth Care.

Staying with the FCCLA philosophy of "student run club," the students took it upon themselves to follow through with the ideas discussed and worked on a program to take to the elementary schools to help fight our epidemic of obesity. FCCLA members developed five stations that students would get to visit during the program. Stations included jump roping, choosing healthy snacks , playing musical chairs, and signing of a "exercise/eating healthy" commitment poster. FCCLA members even made their own contacts with the elementary schools. Visits included entire 2nd grade programs, as well as after school programs. Elementary students were actively involved for 45 minutes. Concluding the program, each student received a bag that included a jump rope to keep the students active, as well as handouts and an evaluation for the parents to fill out with their son or daughter--to be returned to the FCCLA student teachers.

The responses from teachers that observed these workshops were amazing. Many asked if this could be done annually. The students then decided to enter their work at the State FCCLA Star Events this past spring. The co-presidents of our local chapter volunteered to do the presentation. Their presentation got the highest score in the state of CT, and they will be taking their work to the National Convention in Anaheim, CA this July to compete at the National level.

This adventure has been so informative to our elementary friends and their families, and hopefully have changed habits within families, but beyond all that - the effects it had on our club members knowing the positive effect it had on so many was overwhelming. When I look back on the professionalism of the 6 students that went out to deliver the program, I am still so overwhelmed with pride. These FCCLA students prepared and delivered like seasoned teachers. They were amazing.

Jane Hinrichsen, Minnesota Affiliate

Health Living Course

Karen Smith, Minnesota Affiliate

Farm to School