- Author: Hawau E Bojuwon
After attending UCCE Kern County training, CAPSLO early childhood educators increase structured physical activity for 195 children enrolled in their seasonal migrant head start program using the CATCH ECE curriculum.
According to KidsData.org, almost 74% of Kern County adults are either overweight or obese. Furthermore, 2018 data from Department of Education Physical Fitness tests indicated that Kern fifth graders overweight or obese rates at 44.9%, were 5% higher than the state average. Also, the food insecurity rate at 23.8%, is higher than California's state average rate of 18%. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term serious health impacts, as children who are obese are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, including high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) has five migrant head start centers in Kern County: Milagro Migrant Head Start, Las Mariposas Head Start, Las Rosas Migrant Head Start, Glenwood Migrant Head Start, and Buena Vista Migrant Head Start. The agency provides early education and childcare for migrant families in the Arvin, Lamont/Weedpatch, Wasco, and Delano communities. The seasonal migrant program provides no-cost childcare and preschool services to low-income families whose primary occupation is agricultural production or harvesting.
How UC Delivers
To promote healthy lifestyles, CAPSLO collaborated with UCCE Kern County Nutrition Education program to implement the Coordinated Approach to Child Health Early Childhood Education (CATCH ECE). UCCE Kern Nutrition staff provided teachers with a 4-hour CATCH ECE training and technical assistance twice per month for 14 months. CATCH ECE provided children the opportunity to develop locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills through games and activities. Children had the opportunity to be more physically active during school sessions. Teachers incorporated CATCH ECE in their daily curriculum at Head Start Centers 3-5 days per week for 30 minutes.
As a result of the CATCH ECE partnership and implementation, 12 teacher extenders trained to implement the CATCH curriculum, adopted what they learned and delivered 83.75 hours of physical activity programming to young children at CAPSLO's centers. From August 2018 to September 2019, students received these 83.75 hours of structured physical activity using the CATCH ECE curriculum. A total of 195 students increased structured physical activity 3-5 times per week compared to their initial 2-3 times. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2018), regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic diseases among children and adults. By motivating participants to adopt healthier lifestyle practices, UCCE Kern helped to create healthier families and communities.