The prevalence of childhood obesity has dramatically increased nationwide. Specifically, 14 percent of Nevadan children less than 5 years of age are overweight. The underlying causes range from genetic propensity to socio-economic, cultural and environmental influences resulting in unhealthful eating and physical activity practices. A person’s relationship with food and physical activity begins in infancy and is molded during childhood. All 4 Kids and its Healthy Kids Festival use activities, music, dance and food to teach kids and their families in Clark and Lincoln Counties nutrition, physical activity and self-acceptance.
All 4 Kids is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by Extension faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-K Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.
The child component of All 4 Kids consists of 21 (19 in the community setting), 30-minute preschool lessons, taught three times a week for eight weeks by Extension staff. Each lesson uses dance to introduce children to the specific movements outlined in the Nevada Pre-K Standards in addition to a nutrition concept.
Since young children are dependent on their families to provide their meals and movement opportunities, the program encourages families to build healthy habits together. Using pre-existing materials, such as locally written and recorded music and dance for children and their parents and SNAP-ED developed books "Tummy Talks" and "TV Moves Me," the program integrates nutrition and physical activity education into a fun, developmentally appropriate curriculum.
Each week of the program children receive an All 4 Kids Family Pack containing a nutrition activity for the family to complete together. In addition to the family packs, parents and caregivers are invited to attend a monthly family event. Each event has interactive games and a food demonstration for families to try new foods and movement games together. Each family event concludes with children performing the All 4 Kids dances they learned in the preschool lessons. Together families and children learn to be healthy, happy, active and fit.