Communities for Healthy Living at CAAS!

The Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in collaboration with CAAS and ABCD Head Start, was awarded a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to implement the Communities for Healthy Living (CHL) program in Head Start programs in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. This five year program is unique in its family-focused approach to promote positive lifestyle behaviors including diet, physical activity, and healthy technology use among children and their families enrolled in Head Start. The research team and community partners recently completed year one of the program and preparations for implementing the CHL trial run in Spring 2017 are underway! This work is collaboratively directed by a community advisory board representing each Head Start agency.  Over the past year the CAAS advisory board, which is made up of Head Start parents and staff, community representatives, and Harvard students and researchers, met over 8 times to collaboratively adapt an empowerment focused curriculum and a variety of health related resources that will be rolled out in CAAS centers starting in fall 2017. In addition to deciding on the focus, content, and design of curriculum sessions and materials, the advisory board members also worked hard to create a set of partnership principles to guide the group’s relationship building and management process. The advisory board will continue to meet monthly to share their ideas and voice their opinions on the content and learning methods (including social media messaging) to ensure that CHL remains accessible and relevant to the families CAAS serves.

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