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July 10, 2011
News Article: Institute of Museum and Library Services

Examples of projects to combat childhood obesity:

The Children's Museum of Manhattan (NY) is adapting National Institute of Health's "We Can!" materials to communicate to parents of young children living in the Bronx messages about healthy eating habits, balancing food intake and increasing physical activity.

Atlanta Botanical Garden (GA) opened an edible garden, which includes a green wall made from herbs and an onsite outdoor kitchen, featuring "Grow It and Eat It" cooking demonstrations.

The Detroit Science Center (MI) features the "Good Health Can't Weight" exhibit collection.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (Portland, OR) touring exhibit "Every Body Eats" explores healthy food choices.

Kidspace Children's Museum (Pasadena, CA) hosts the "Mini-Iron Chef" program in their outdoor garden space. Museum visitors help plant, water and harvest tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn and other ingredients that go into burritos. The museums hosts a "Mini-Iron Chef" competition in which kids compete to make the tastiest burrito using these healthy, garden-fresh ingredients.

Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus, OH) recently opened a community gardening campus which includes garden space available for public use as well as both outdoor and indoor kitchens used for cooking demonstrations and classes for people of all ages.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Heirloom Farm (Chicago, IL) tackles access to healthy, affordable food and nutrition education through such projects as an outdoor exhibition, farm-to-school programs for local public schools, and food-focused museum tours and activities.

At The Children's Museum of Houston's (TX) "PowerPlay" exhibit, kids get active on a light-up dance floor and see how this activity affects their heart rate.

Chicago Botanic Garden (IL), through its Center for Teaching and Learning, has developed model environmental education and school garden programs. This center also developed, in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden, a comprehensive how-to website for teachers and schools wishing to establish and maintain school gardens.

The Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum (Sacramento, CA) runs "Hip Hop to Wellness," addressing childhood obesity by involving the family in making healthy changes in diet and encouraging physical activities through programs such as the Oak Park Kids Run and hip-hop, African dance and salsa workshops.

Port Discovery Children's Museum (Baltimore, MD) brings community partners together for "Healthy First Saturdays," a health fair program featuring free play within the museum exhibits, healthy programming and resource booths hosted by the partnering organizations.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Pittsburgh, PA) sponsors an organic farmers market with cooking demonstration spring through fall on its front lawn.

Hawaii Children's Discovery Center in Honolulu developed the "Passport to Play" program based on the Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) and the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Compendium of Education Standards. An interactive program combining physical education, health, life skills, language arts, geography and art, "Passport to Play" teaches kids in second to fifth grade to play games that are popular with kids in different countries around the world.

The Lyon Arboretum (Honolulu, HI) models sustainable practices in its organic children's garden. Children harvest ‘uala (sweet potato), bananas, tomatoes, taro, mountain apples, avocados, kale and soy beans. Many traditional Hawaiian plants are used to encourage preservation of traditional gardening and harvesting practices.

The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum has created a cardio workout exhibit designed to help Mississippi school kids win the battle against childhood obesity.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's (OH) health programs include "You Are What You Eat" and "Macronutrients: Fads versus Fitness" delivered in classrooms or via distance learning, as well as the "Health on Wheels" outreach van.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History's (Martinsville, VA) "Community Nature Initiative" provides family outdoor experiences promoting healthy lifestyles.

 

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