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University of Nevada Las Vegas Department of Nutrition Sciences and City of Henderson Department of Parks and Recreation

Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada


The Las Vegas location is a strong multi-site effort led by the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Department of Nutrition Sciences, City of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services, and City of Henderson Department of Parks and Recreation.

The UNLV Department of Nutrition Sciences supports dietetics as a professional discipline guided by attitudes, beliefs, and a code of ethics that emphasizes the interdependence among individuals and groups in society.

Both the City of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services and the City of Henderson Department of Parks and Recreation strive to promote and provide quality cultural and recreational experiences through diverse and innovative parks, recreation facilities and activities, and natural resource opportunities.

Key Site Successes

  • CATCH Kids Club at Twitchell Elementary School reached over 70 children on a weekly basis and showcased the benefits of strong partnerships, providing them with knowledge that they carried throughout the year.
  • The site received financial support to fund public service announcements that were broadcast on local television networks and in movie theaters throughout Southern Nevada.

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Community Outreach and Events

Image of people with Miss Nevada standing behind We Can event tableLas Vegas worked hard to integrate programming with sites in both Las Vegas and Henderson, relying on the strength of partnerships for implementation.

The sites participated in four community events that sought to educate the public about healthy eating and physical activity. These successful events attracted over 7,000 attendees and generated local media coverage.

  • Field Day at Baker School (July 2005)
    The Las Vegas site provided outdoor games for kids that were part of a summer program at Baker Pool. The event, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services and the UNLV Department of Nutrition Sciences, involved games and activities using fruits and vegetables, such as Apple Tic-Tac-Toe and Coconut Bowling. UNLV students staffed a We Can!™ booth featuring activities and quick nutrition lessons, including the demonstration of sugar content in sodas. Approximately 100 youths from at-risk neighborhoods participated in the event. The event was covered on the City of Las Vegas’s own cable television channel.

  • City of Henderson Fourth of July Celebration (July 2005)
    This popular, annual citywide Fourth of July celebration held at Morell Park in Henderson provided nutrition information and activities for families. Over 5,000 people attended the event. Staffed by UNLV Nutrition Sciences students, great effort was put into advertising the We Can! programs that would be offered in the Fall. We Can! materials were distributed, along with healthy snacks. UNLV students ventured out all over the park throughout the day and evening to spread the word about We Can! and to pass out items with the We Can! logo. The event also received media coverage.

  • Healthy Henderson (March 2006)
    This event shows the importance of location, location, location! The site had a booth directly at the entrance to Healthy Henderson so that each of the 2,000 attendees stopped at the table to receive a goodie bag that included a flier about the Parent Curriculum. Miss Las Vegas, who attended several of the Las Vegas site’s events and sessions, also drew a crowd by volunteering at the booth. Dr. Andrew Weil, the key speaker at the event, was also a substantial part of drawing attendees.

  • Nike Town 5K Run/Walk (November 2005)
    This was a family-friendly event where parents and children can complete a 5K run or walk and are encouraged to participate together. The Southern Nevada team partnered with “Partners for Healthy Nevada” and passed out We Can! materials, pencils, bracelets, and advertised the programs for the Spring. Over several hundred We Can! handouts were distributed to the large crowds. We Can! bracelets were the most popular item at the event!

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Media Outreach

The local television network covered the July 2005 Field Day event, and Molly Michelman, the site organizer, has been interviewed by at least four media outlets, including appearances on local television and in local newspapers.

This coverage prompted the Southern Nevada Health District to seek a partnership with the site. Ms. Michelman also secured a regular column in the Nevada Family Magazine, which is mailed to the homes of children in the Clark County School District in both English and Spanish.

The PSAs produced as part of the Media-Smart Youth Curriculum were shown on local television networks and in one of the city’s most popular movie theaters for several weeks, reaching a vast number of viewers.

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Las Vegas formed partnerships with six groups and individuals. The University of Nevada Las Vegas Department of Nutrition Sciences has led the charge by providing the project management, staffing events, and with facilitation of lessons and activities. University of Nevada Las Vegas Department of Physical Therapy contributed staff support and ongoing research support the CATCH curriculum.

The City of Henderson provided participants for the youth curricula in both the Fall and Spring and has actively recruited for the Parent Curriculum implementations. The Southern Nevada Health District (formerly Clark County Health District) provided financial support for advertising space for radio PSAs, materials, and publicity.

The Dairy Council of Utah and Nevada lent financial support for the PSAs and Media-Smart Youth materials, as well as supporting travel to a professional meeting to present data.

The University of Nevada Las Vegas television station (UNLV-TV) provided staff and produced the Media-Smart Youth PSAs as a media partner. The City of Las Vegas provided audience and event coordination for the Field Day event. The site was very excited to have Miss Las Vegas attend many of its events and share the We Can! objectives with attendees.

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Parent Curriculum

We Can! Energize Our Families: Curriculum for Parents and Caregivers

Las Vegas attempted to teach the Parent Curriculum in various settings and schedules, including the UNLV preschool, at UNLV during lunchtime, and on Saturdays.

One implementation met once a week for two weeks for two and one-half hour sessions in the City of Henderson in the Fall of 2005. This implementation began with five parents and ended with three parents. The second session provided child care, allowing the parents to play with their children during the stretch breaks. The site modified the curriculum to accommodate parents’ schedules but still had difficulty recruiting parents.

While coordinators noted that parents enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas, they also feared that the information may not have reached parents that truly needed it. When UNLV conducted a workshop with parents of UNLV preschool children they were pleased to draw over 30 attendees. No data were available for analysis.

View Program Summary Report Data for the Parent Curriculumpdf document icon (4.5 MB)

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Youth Curricula

CATCH Kids Club

Designed for children in grades K–5 in after-school or summer-care settings CATCH Kids Club helps children adopt healthier dietary and physical activity behaviors by positively influencing the health environments of recreation programs, schools, and homes. The field-tested materials include an Activity Box with snack recipes and physical and nutrition activities.

An analysis of 47 respondent surveys found statistically significant increases in food attitudes: self-efficacy and intentions to drink skim milk, and healthy eating behaviors: eating fruits and vegetables. At the completion of CATCH, students reported increased intention to drink low fat or skim milk instead of whole milk, and said they were more likely to make healthy food choices by reducing intake of higher-fat foods. The participants also reported eating more fruits and vegetables. The analysis also found a statistically significant decrease in screen time behaviors: weekend video gaming.

Although not statistically significant, the results suggested positive movement toward We Can! objectives on measures related to food attitudes: intention to reduce fat; healthy eating behaviors: reducing fat and reading labels; physical activity attitudes; and screen time behaviors: weekday TV viewing and weekday video gaming.

View Program Summary Report Data for the CATCH Curriculumpdf document icon (4.5 MB)

Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active!®

Image of woman and two boys participating in a community event The University of Nevada Las Vegas Department of Nutrition Sciences implemented Media-Smart Youth twice at local schools. In all, 40 students including 24 girls and 16 boys participated in this 10-lesson curriculum that focuses on helping 11–13-year-olds understand the connections between media and health.

It concluded with the Big Production, where students apply their new skills to create a media project to help motivate other young people to take action for better health.

Although not statistically significant, an analysis of 14 respondent surveys suggested positive movement toward We Can! objectives related to food attitudes and physical activity knowledge.

View Program Summary Report Data for the Media-Smart Youth Curriculumpdf document icon (4.5 MB)

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Contact Information

University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Department of Nutrition Sciences
4505 Maryland Parkway
Box 453026
Las Vegas, Nevada 89154

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Related Information

List of all We Can! community sites

Last Updated: February 13, 2013