It was a fluke of fate that on the day best known for young trick-or-treaters toting overflowing bags of candy, more than 30 regional leaders from the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) attended a special training on how healthier food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time can help children in their communities maintain a healthy weight.
This Halloween, October 31, NCNW leaders gathered at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to learn how to both present and train others on two health-education programs adapted from the We Can! curricula.
Leaders learned the ins and outs of “Energize Our NCNW Families: Parent Program” (adapted from the We Can!™ Parent Program) and “Media-Smart Youth: The Essentials,” which teaches young people ages 11 to 13 years how to analyze and understand media messages about nutrition and physical activity so that they can make healthy choices for themselves.
They also heard from NCNW Chair and President Emerita Dorothy Height, Ph.D., and NICHD Deputy Director Yvonne T. Maddox, Ph.D. about the importance of the new partnership.
“The NIH and NCNW are working together to make sure that children get the information they need to avoid overweight and its attendant risks,” said Dr. Maddox. “The NICHD has developed science-based health education programs tailored to meet NCNW’s needs, and NCNW members will deliver these programs to families who can benefit from them.”
“One in five African-American children is overweight. This has long-term health implications for these children,” said Dr. Height. “Now is the time to act. Today’s training enables our members to go back to their communities and not only deliver these programs but train others to deliver them to parents and young people to put them on the path to better health.”
The most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2006), or NHANES, not only reveals that one out of five non-Hispanic black children is considered overweight—it shows that one out of three is at risk of becoming overweight.
The NCNW leaders have since dispersed across the U.S., taking their knowledge and guides with them so that they can implement We Can! programming in their communities.
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