THE NEED:  Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and, less than half of families on nutritional assistance planned meals according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for nutrition[i]. 

According to the Associated Press, 1 in 3 kids eat fast food every day. In addition, there are twice the number of fast-food outlets in inner-city neighborhoods with high density, non-white ethnic minority groups and in socially deprived areas, studies have shown.  Scientists have linked fast food to obesity and other health issues.  In fact, pediatric type 2 diabetes now accounts for almost one-third of all diabetes in children younger than 18 years.  And, Hispanics are twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to develop type 2 diabetes.   

However, even youth who are not outwardly obese are showing some negative effects of poor eating habits in the U.S.  In fact, the American Heart Association published a report suggesting that sedentary young people are already exhibiting signs of arterial stiffening -- when arteries become less compliant as blood pumps through the body.    Research also suggests that time in front of a screen, which is the most common form of sedentary activity, is greatest among children with a lower socio-economic status and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.  Based on 232 studies, sedentary behavior (most of these focused on TV viewing) for more than 2 hours per day was also associated with lowered self-esteem and more socially-awkward behavior and poor academic performance in school-aged children and youth (5-17 years).

[i] http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Obesity-In-Children-And-Teens-079.aspx
[ii]  http://www.examiner.com/article/stiffer-arteries-found-sedentary-young-people-than-more-active-youth
[iii] Godbey, Geoffrey.   May 2009.  “Outdoor Recreation, Health, and Wellness Understanding and Enhancing the Relationship.”  http://www.rff.org/documents/RFF-DP-09-21.pdf
[iv]   http://www.wcrf-uk.org/cancer_prevention/health_professionals/informed_articles/47_sedentary_behaviour.php
[v] http://blogs.plos.org/obesitypanacea/2011/09/27/worlds-first-systematic-review-on-sedentary-behaviour-health-in-school-aged-children/

Community Garden 

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Field Trips, Community BBQ’s, Quinceaneras and Weddings

This program could touch and help to encourage change in unhealthy trends developing in the lives of the families who are NOT involved in our sport programs.  Families will be exposed to healthy alternatives through field trips from local schools, community events and even through private parties. 

With this exposure, we hope to reduce childhood obesity, increase activity and improve on the nutritional health of the children in our lower-income neighborhoods.

Success Story— Western School of Science and Technology

Western School of Science and Technology (WSST) is a Title 1 school at the border of Glendale and inner-city Phoenix.  Despite the fact that only 27% of the students in the district surrounding WSST are proficient in math-- these students calculated the exact dimensions they would need to cut to make garden beds for the Heart for the City Community Garden.   

The students volunteered their time to create a bench, paint our garbage cans and build 20 garden beds. 

Some of the kids had so much fun being part of the garden that HFTC will be working with Adrian Espana to teach the kids culinary skills on serving the vegetables they have helped grow!