While its reach is not very extensive, Knox County Health Department’s after-school program targeting youth who are at high risk for developing unhealthy lifestyles and eating behaviors did make some strides this past year:
• Begun in 2006, the program operated through Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department’s 12 recreation centers until last year, when Knox County YMCA joined the partnership and added its 12 locations. NEAT now serves around 500 children with a weekly curriculum teaching nutrition, kitchen skills and safety, hand washing, and how to prevent food-borne illness.
• Almost 60 percent of the NEAT kids are meeting daily recommendations for vegetables and fruits.
• Over the past two years, 24 percent of the children who participated in NEAT reported eating less high-fat foods (such as candy, cookies, and cake) per day.
• Fifty percent of children reported drinking less than or equal to one serving of sugar-sweetened beverage per day, an improvement of 28 percent since the ’08-’09 school year.
• Program participants who identified whole wheat bread as a healthier choice than white bread increased by 11 percent.
Source: 2010 Annual Report, Knox County Health Department