Healthy Families Start with YOU is a community-based health education program that aims to increase the number of people who adopt positive, healthy lifestyle habits. In the program, early childhood professionals are trained to conduct a series of two health chats with participating parents or caregivers. The participants provide information about the nutrition and physical activity practices within their households and are asked to set a health behavior change goal. Parents receive support and health-related incentives and literature. In addition, NKFM offers educational classes about healthy eating and physical activity to assist parents in achieving their goals.
Program outcomes from the 2010-2011 year:
Over 70 early childhood sites have partnered with NKFM to provide HFSY.
94% of participants indicated they made at least one of the following healthy behavior changes while participating in HFSY:
- Choosing foods low in fat
- Limiting salt intake
- Quitting smoking
- Increasing exercise
- Increasing fruit, vegetable, whole grain, or low-fat dairy consumption
- Decreasing fast food consumption
- Decreasing pop consumption
- Decreasing TV watching
- Taking blood pressure/diabetes medication as prescribed by their doctor
- Discussing chronic diseases with their doctor
In 47% of participating households, other household members made healthy behavior changes along with the participant.
“I am a single mother who works at a fast food restaurant. I began to incorporate what I learned. I walk more and developed strategies to help my family eat better.”
-Detroit Head Start Parent
“Wanting to be a healthy role model to my three young children, I joined the program. It motivated me to set healthy family goals and I have lost over 20 pounds.”
-OLHSA Head Start Parent
“After the health chat, one parent said ‘thanks for caring’ which gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over. I felt like I was making a difference.”
-Pontiac Head Start FSW
National Kidney Foundation of Michigan staff is available to provide trainings, materials, and technical assistance to participating early childhood sites. This program has been implemented in a variety of child care settings by various staff, including family service workers and advocates, nurses, teachers, community members, and parents.
Partnering sites can host fitness and nutrition demonstrations for program participants. Contact your program coordinator today about scheduling a health demonstration.
To learn more about this program, please contact:
(734) 222-9800 ext. 258
Ways you can get involved:
- Join the US Healthier School Challenge or Team Nutrition.
- Incorporate physical activity into the school day both inside and outside the classroom.
- Talk to the children about healthy eating and why it is important for their bodies.
- Start a school garden in which kids, parents, teachers, and community members can participate.
- Set a good example as a healthy role model for the children by eating healthier and being more active.
- Think about adopting a healthy classroom policy by providing non-food rewards and having a healthy party policy.
- Attend a nutrition or fitness demo at your site.
- Talk to your family about your health goals and how you plan to achieve those goals.
- When serving meals at home, encourage children to serve themselves through family style dining.
- Encourage children to help plan healthy meals by having them go shopping and cook with you.
- When offering new foods, talk about the color, shape, size, and texture of foods.
- Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day.
- Schedule family active play time daily; for example, plan nature walks or turn on the radio and dance around the house.
- Serve 1%, 1/2% or skim milk to children ages 2 and up.
- Be a positive role model for your children. Your child notices the choices that you make. If you make healthy eating choices and are active every day, your child will be too.
- Avoid giving food items as a reward to children for a job well done. Instead, try rewarding them with non-food items like stickers, crayons, or extra reading time together. If you run out of ideas, ask your child to provide you with some suggestions for other rewards.
Wayne County Head Start
Wayne Metro Early Learning Communities
Starfish Early Head Start (Inkster)
Vistas Nuevas Head Start (Detroit)
Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency Head Start
Macomb County Community Services Agency Head Start
Macomb Family Services Early Learning Communities
Southwest Counseling Solutions (Detroit) Early Learning Communities
Monroe Intermediate School District (Early On and Great Start Parent Coalition)
Turning Point Academy (Detroit)
Let's Move! Child Care-
Provides information on best practice recommendations and resources for nutrition and physical activity for child care centers.
USDA My Plate-
Encourages adults and children to build a healthy plate at every meal.
Head Start Body Start-
Promotes healthy lifestyles for both parents and their children through physical activity inside and outside the classroom.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service website that provides nutrition and physical activity resources for download.
Fruits and Veggies More Matters-
Encourages adults and children to eat more fruits and vegetables by making it fun!