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Program Overview

In the United States obesity continues to be a problem, one that extends throughout life as children move into adolescence and adulthood and choose progressively less physical activity and less healthy diets. This public health issue needs to be addressed early in childhood, when kids are adopting the behaviors that they will carry throughout their lives. Eat Well & Keep Moving helps children learn physically active and nutritionally healthy lifestyles that can significantly reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.

Key Program Benefits of Eat Well & Keep Moving

This award-winning, evidence-based program has been implemented in all 50 states and in more than 20 countries. The program began as a joint research project between the Harvard School of Public Health (presently the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and Baltimore Public Schools. In extensive field tests among students and teachers using the program, children ate more fruits and vegetables, reduced their intake of saturated fat, watched less TV, and improved their knowledge of nutrition and physical activity. The program is also well liked by teachers and students. This new third edition provides fourth- and fifth-grade teachers with the following:

kid's healthy eating plate
  • Thoroughly updated nutrition and activity guidelines to keep current with the latest and best information available
  • 48 multidisciplinary lessons that supply students with the knowledge and skills they need for choosing healthy eating and activity behaviors (View sample lessons)
  • Lessons that address a range of learning outcomes and that can be integrated across multiple subject areas, such as math, language arts, social studies, and visual arts
  • Two new core messages on water consumption and on sleep and screen time (along with two new related lessons)
  • A new Kids Healthy Eating Plate, created by nutrition experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (© 2015) that offers children clear guidance in making healthy choices and complements the USDA's MyPlate

Eat Well & Keep Moving offers an accompanying web resource that provides easy access to lesson reproducibles (many of which were included in the book or the CD-ROM in previous editions). The web resource also contains detailed information for food service managers interested in making healthful changes to their school menus as well as a variety of approaches for getting parents and family members involved in the Eat Well & Keep Moving program.

A Holistic Approach

Eat Well & Keep Moving is both popular and effective because it teaches nutrition and physical activity while kids are moving. The program addresses both issues simultaneously, reinforcing the link between the two components. And it does so holistically, encompassing all aspects of a child's learning environment: the classroom, the gymnasium, the cafeteria, the hallways, out-of-school programs, the home, and community centers. Further, the material can be easily incorporated into various classroom subjects or in health education curricula.

Eight Core Principles

Central to its message are the eight Principles of Healthy Living. Those principles—at least one of which is emphasized in each lesson—have been updated to reflect key targets as defined by the CDC-funded Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration partnership. The principles include the following:

a boy drinking water

Make the switch from sugary drinks to water.

a boy juggling fruits

Choose colorful fruits and vegetables instead of junk food.

a girl surrounded by grains

Choose whole-grain foods and limit foods with added sugar.

a boy eating food

Choose foods with healthy fat, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat.

a girl eating breakfast

Eat a nutritious breakfast every morning.

a running girl

Be physically active every day for at least an hour.

melting electronic devices

Limit TV and other recreational screen time to two hours or less per day.

a sleeping girl

Get enough sleep to give the brain and body the rest they need.

Flexible, Inexpensive, Easy to Adopt

The entire curriculum of Eat Well & Keep Moving reflects the latest research and incorporates recommendations from the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It fits within school curricula, uses existing school resources, is inexpensive to implement, and is easy to adopt. The content is customizable to school and student population profiles and can help schools meet new federally mandated wellness policy criteria. Most important, armed with the knowledge they can gain from this program, elementary students can move toward and maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives.

Evidence-Based Effectiveness

Visit the Harvard Prevention Research Center's Eat Well & Keep Moving scientific literature page for articles on the program's effectiveness.