Field of Work: Childhood obesity and healthy food in schools
Problem Synopsis: Denver has been a national leader in putting healthier food into public school cafeterias. But parents have pointed out another problem—school food might be getting healthier, but students don’t have enough time to eat it.
Synopsis of the Work: Padres Unidos is a 4,000-member community organization focused on education, health care and racial justice. Its Healthy Students, Healthy Minds initiative is a project of Communities Creating Healthy Environments, which aims to curb childhood obesity using community organizing to advocate for policy changes in communities of color.
Healthy Students, Healthy Minds has cultivated ties to other organizations concerned about obesity and healthy living in Denver and elsewhere in the state.
Key Results: After conducting "lay of the land" research, project staff concluded that scheduling recess before lunch gets kids to eat better, with less waste and fewer discipline problems. Working with interested parents, project staff has brought the issue before the district school board and hopes that a mandatory recess-before-lunch policy will take effect by September 2012.
That "win" is expected to be a springboard for further community-based action focused on student health.