Snack It Up program fights childhood obesity

1/10/2014, 6 a.m.

The nonprofit ChildObesity180 has launched a pilot program in Decatur called Snack It Up to help combat childhood obesity by encouraging local grocery retailers to offer discounts on fresh fruits and vegetables to out-of-school programs.

Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, is one of the first grocers to sign up for the pilot program in its Dallas and Atlanta markets. It is providing product discounts to programs such as Pop Warner and 4-H.

ChildObesity180, made up of national leaders from the public, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors, will soon roll out the program nationwide with other grocers. It says that nationally obesity rates have more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past three decades.

Snack It Up was created by Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, as part of an effort to develop innovative and collaborative approaches to preventing childhood obesity. It promotes three principles for healthy out-of-school time – Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart.

Christina D. Economos, vice chair and director, said Snack It Up was developed because out-of-school-time program leaders said fruits and vegetables are not easily accessible.

“With the participation of Kroger and support from Newman’s Own Foundation, we have been able to help such programs provide healthier snack options for children while still staying within their budgets,” said Economos, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

Glynn Jenkins, Kroger’s communications director, said the chain is excited to be a part of the Snack It Up pilot program in Atlanta.

“We hope the Snack It Up program educates children and parents about the benefits of eating affordable fruits and vegetables and nutritious food choices to promote healthier lifestyles.”

Visit www.ChildObesity180.org.