Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series
What they do: FAN4Kids is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2004 in response to the growing rate of childhood obesity, its related health concerns, and the lack of coordinated and simple solutions to the problem. The organization provides a comprehensive and innovative nutrition and fitness program designed to introduce children and their parents to a lifetime of healthy living. The program targets low-income elementary school children and is taught by trained instructors in the school setting, where children spend most of their time outside of the home.
How they do it: FAN4Kids instructors teach hands-on, interactive nutrition and fitness lessons every week of the entire school year. Their instructors spend full days in schools, supervise recess and become an integral part of each school community.
Nutrition lessons cover a wide variety of topics and encourage students to eat a good balance and variety of real foods rather than following a strict diet or harsh rules. The students learn to make smart choices about food and to understand what is healthy versus not-so-healthy. They learn not to overload on sugars, excessively processed foods or unhealthy fats. Through frequent food tastings, with food purchased in each school’s neighborhood, students are introduced to a variety of tasty, healthy foods and learn to choose healthier options.
Fitness lessons are active and fun, with a focus on developing aerobic capacity, improving fitness level and learning specific skills that benefit all children, such as balance, core strength and coordination. This gives students the confidence to move and play in and out of school and to enjoy and seek out physical activity.
FAN4Kids recess is led by instructors and is a vital part of the FAN4Kids program. It includes all students regardless of ability, provides structure and keeps children extremely active.
Mission: “To educate kids of all shapes and sizes about healthy eating and active lifestyles and empower them to make healthy decisions about fitness and nutrition. We help prevent the problems of poor eating and inactivity by instilling ‘Lessons That Last A LIFETIME.’”
Latest project/campaign: Collaboration and partnerships with local retailers and businesses, local and state political leaders, hospitals and medical facilities, colleges, and other non-profit organizations.
Major Funding: Aetna, Change for Kids, Coca-Cola, CSX Corp, Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, HOPES Community Action Partnership, Inc., KIPP Foundation, Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, New York City Council, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Robert & Joan Dircks Foundation, Inc., Walmart
Annual Budget: N/A
Interesting facts about how they are working to positively affect the food system:
- FAN4Kids has reduced the rates of obese and overweight children in their program by as much as 13 percent in 9 months.
- Increased the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten by students. 66 percent of parents reported an increase in vegetable consumption.
- 76 percent of parents reported an increase in physical activity for both students and families.
154 Douglass St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Core Programs: Nutrition lessons, fitness lessons, FAN4Kids recess, parents and community interaction
Number of staff: 9
Number of volunteers: N/A
Areas served: Schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Newark, NJ
Year Started: 2004
Director: Robert L. Oliver Jr.