An exciting aspect of Commit to Health is that NRPA evaluates and measures the effectiveness of the program’s healthy eating and physical activity interventions among participants of summer and afterschool programs in park and recreation sites. This research is critical to understanding the impact the HEPA Standards and the Commit to Health program have on the health of youth all across the country.

Latest Research

Focus Groups Confirm Improvements in Nutrition Knowledge and Healthy Behavior at Local Park and Recreation Agencies

NRPA presented a research session at the National Recreation and Park Association's Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on October 5, 2016. This research study evaluated a sub-group of children, staff and parents who participated in focus groups after completing participation in a Commit to Health program with three interventions including:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Feeding Program and USDA afterschool meals;
  • Nutrition literacy programming; and
  • Commit to Health Healthy Eating Physical Activity (HEPA) standards

Key Findings

  • Children reported learning what MyPlate is, how to read a nutrition label, eating too much sugar is not good for the body/organs, milk is good for the body/organs and drinking lots of water each day is important.
  • Children's behaviors changed to include eating new fruits, vegetables and whole grains, eating according to the MyPlate chart, drinking more water and milk and drinking fewer sugary beverages.
  • Parents reported eating new fruits, vegetables and trying new foods, cooking/plating according to MyPlate and cooking more as a family.
  • Staff confirmed that many parents and children shared that their eating habits had changed throughout the programming.

Read the full abstract here.

Research Shows Eating Behaviors Improve with Commit to Health Program

NRPA presented a research poster at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE 2015) in Nashville, Tenn., on October 6, 2015. This research study evaluated a group of children, staff and parents that completed participation in a Commit to Health program with three interventions including: 

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Feeding Program and USDA afterschool meals;
  • Nutrition literacy programming; and
  • Commit to Health HEPA standards.

They were surveyed before starting the program, in June and after completing the program in August.

2015 FNCE Poster Tumbnail

 

 

 

 

 

Key Findings

  • Children showed statistically significant increases in knowledge of nutrition topics , specifically children increased their knowledge of the main antioxidants/vitamins found in fruits/vegetables from 14.8 percent at baseline to 34.0 percent post
  • Parents also reported significant increases in consumption of vegetables generally (z-score -2.22; p= 0.026)
  • Child and adult healthy eating behaviors can be improved via summer camp programming
  • Increases in knowledge of nutrition and healthy living give support for the expansion of similar out-of-school time efforts, including NRPA’s continued commitment and expansion of Commit to Health

An abstract of the research poster is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supplemental issue.

 

News Stories

9.18.18Top Story

NYC getting 407-acre state park named for Shirley Chisholm

9.18.18Around the Country

Rochester, N.Y., zoo adds Animals of the Savanna exhibit

9.18.18Health and Wellness

The Netherlands an example of urban biking's health benefits