Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

What We Do

Healthy Kids Challenge® (HKC) provides resources for healthy schools and youth programs.

  • From healthy eating activities to an easy-to-use Pre-K through 8th grade nutrition education curriculum, resources provide evidence-based information and best practices to help children develop skills for healthy eating and physical activity choices. 
  • An e-newsletter and website provide additional support for nutrition education, to build healthier environments, and ideas to help kids move more. HKC's Healthy6 behavior messages are part of the HKC strategies that make teaching and learning simple, fun, and effective.


Child handing an apple to teacher

The Healthy Kids Challenge® Mission...

Develop leaders who help kids and families eat healthy and move more

Who we reach

Our primary target audiences are childcare providers, school nutrition staff, classroom teachers (K-8) and community youth leaders. In the community, our target audiences extend beyond youth organizations to leaders who are organizing events for families of children. Examples of these highly motivating educational events are Explore MyPlate and Ready, Set, Cook and Eat.

How we make a healthy difference

Resources are based on best practices and research

HKC uses the most current evidence-based recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading organizations. The curriculum:

  • Is designed for health literacy. At the younger age levels images are incorporated for better literacy. Parent Tips are generally written at a six to eighth grade level and are available in English or Spanish. Classroom activities are written to be inclusive for all socio-economic groups.

  • Is written for all children, regardless of weight. Studies show that most kids do not eat in a way to maintain good health.

  • Aligns with health education standards and guidelines, including the CDC Health Education Analysis Tool (HECAT), Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Out-of-School Time Framework (HOST), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Guide for Effective Nutrition Intervention (GENIE), Institute of Medicine, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and MyPlate.

  • Is written with strategies and content that support the connection with academic performance to eating and physical activity. We understand that together, healthy eating and physical activity create balance and are committed to helping leaders find ways to support kids and families in finding they C.A.N. (Connect Activity and Nutrition), including:
    • A collaborative partnership with SPARK, evidence-based PE programs.
    • Incorporating a Move and Learn activity in every nutrition curriculum lesson.
    • Emphasizing healthy balance with Active Play, as one of the Healthy6 habits.
    • Integrating physical activity into every event.
  • Includes measurable objectives that address one or more of the following: knowledge, attitudes skills, behaviors, policy, and environment. Attitude and behavior outcome measures include guiding goal setting and logs.

  • Is founded on effective health behavior education strategies and environmental change: HKC incorporates a HEAR – SEE – DO approach (Kids HEAR a healthy message; SEE how to make healthy choices; and DO – have hands-on practice of healthy habits) based on social cognitive theory, goal setting, and the Socio-Ecological Model.

Use six evidence-based healthy messages (The Healthy6) as the cornerstone for healthy change

The Healthy6 Messages1 Make Teaching Easier and Learning Simple and Fun

  1. Breakfast GO Power
    Nutritionally and academically, breakfast is an important meal. Studies show eating breakfast helps maintain a healthy weight and improves concentration at school or work.
  2. Fruits & Veggies - Every Day the Tasty Way
    The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention identifies fruit and veggie intake as one of the most important health behaviors. With plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are one of the answers to a healthier weight and disease prevention.
  3. Drink Think
    Beverages high in sugar and fat are more available and popular, making Drink Think increasingly important. 
  4. Smart Servings
    Portion distortion abounds in foods. Healthy balance is dependent on choosing appropriate portion sizes.
  5. Active Play Every Day, Balance My Day
    Physical activity through the day improves academics and health. Every classroom curriculum lesson includes a "Move and Learn" activity.
  6. Snack Attack
    Snacks high in added sugar and fat have been the norm. HKC ideas and lessons help build skills and solutions for healthier snack habits and balanced choices. 


Teachers report the HKC tools provide great new strategies for teaching core curriculum. Youth leaders use activities and ideas in multiple ways. Schools, organizations, and communities are making the healthy choices easier.

“HKC shared awesome techniques that made it easy to incorporate the resources into all activities to make it fun and simple to present powerful messages to children.” -- Michelle Lock-Gooch, RD, LD

1Healthy6 References

Fruits and Veggies and Physical Activity
National Institutes of Health. Only half of U.S. youth meet physical activity standards, NIH study shows. June 25, 2013, NIH: accessed 7/5/13.

Wesnes KA, Pincock C, Richardson D, et al. Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in school children. Appetite. 2003;41:329-331.

Snack Attack
Piernas C, Popkin BM, Study Showing Rise In Snacking By Children Generates Discussion Health Affairs, March 2010.

Smart Servings
Ledikwe JH, Ello-Martin JA, Rolls BJ Portion Sizes and the Obesity Epidemic J Nutr. April 1, 2005 vol. 135 no. 4 905-909.

Rolls BJ, Morris EL, Roe LS. Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:1207-1213.

Drink Think
Ogden CL, Kit BK, Carroll MD, Park S. Consumption of sugar drinks in the United States, 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief. 2011:1-8.

Elsevier (2013, March 12). Kid's consumption of sugared beverages linked to higher caloric intake of food. Science Daily. Retrieved July 5, 2013.