2013 Be Active Kids®
With a name like Be Active Kids® (BAK), the objective is clear: to educate preschool children about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. Since its founding, the program has been successfully administered in more than 6,000 childcare centers in all 100 North Carolina counties.
From 1999 through 2012, Be Active North Carolina administered the Be Active Kids program through a train-the trainer model to over 800 trainers and 4500 child care providers across all 100 counties in North Carolina. Currently, Be Active Kids is in a collaborative partnership with the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (NCaeyc) to administer the program.
An advisory committee of experts from the areas of physical activity, education, early childhood, professional development, nutrition, outdoor environments, and disability services helped guide the work of Be Active Kids. Be Active Kids is recommended by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina Smart Start/Partnership for Children, and the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children. Additional Be Active Kids collaborative partners include the North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition, Natural Learning Initiative, and Eat Smart Move More North Carolina.
In 1997, North Carolina ranked an astounding 39th in the nation (according to the National Kids Count Data Book) in the health and well-being of children. To help address this issue, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) brought together professionals in the areas of early childhood development, nutrition, and physical activity to design a comprehensive program. The team created skills-training programs, developed extensive curricula and evaluation measurements, as well as designed product tools for child-care providers.
The curriculum, which is presented in a special Be Active Kids kit, focuses on establishing an early, positive relationship with one’s body through participation in fun physical activities and education about basic healthy eating concepts. The kit consists of a notebook with 19 lesson plans, recipes, and activity ideas. The lessons are designed around topics such as make believe, art, science, and math, with each subject consisting of a targeted nutrition or physical activity component. Lessons are designed to be developmentally appropriate, fun, and interactive. The notebook also includes tips for engaging parents and family members in the learning process. The overall goal for each lesson is to promote positive attitudes toward physical activity and a healthy diet.
In 2008, a new section of the curriculum entitled “Healthy Strides” was added. Healthy Strides is a guide for the child care provider to help him/her increase daily physical activity and tips on healthy eating. The goal is to provide additional tools to help the child care provider serve as a role model for the children they teach. Additional items in the kit include a laminated My Pyramid for kids, a storyboard with the BAK characters, classroom posters, and a parent newsletter. Kits are available free of charge to child-care providers in North Carolina when they attend a free Be Active Kids training. Based on successful programming and a solid future ahead, Food Lion became a partner in 2004 by introducing new lesson plans on food safety. Cubby, a new Be Active Kids character, teaches children the importance of hand washing, washing fruits and vegetables, and appropriate temperature control of foods.
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
In June 2007, the Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health completed a comprehensive evaluation designed to assess the effectiveness of the Be Active Kids program. Data from the study proved that Be Active Kids is effective in teaching four- and five-year-old children about physical activity and nutrition and that the-train-the trainer system is an effective method of disseminating the information. Results from this evaluation will be used for continued enhancement of the program.