The Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program, a childhood obesity and nutrition initiative from the Association of Junior Leagues International, is designed to help our communities address the urgent issues surrounding childhood obesity and poor nutrition.
The need for the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program is already apparent to leaders in healthcare and is increasingly gaining attention in the media. This attention is focused on alarming statistics related to the percentages of overweight and obese children and adolescents in all four countries where Leagues exist, and the fact that these youth have increased chances of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes,high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen, which includes a virtual recipe collection from celebrity chefs, local restaurateurs,celebrity moms and nutrition experts, is designed to teach young children healthy eating habits at an early age. These recipes are available in electronic and downloadable formats and are coupled with important nutrition and fitness tips to guide children to a healthier lifestyle.
Since the inception of its Kids in the Kitchen campaign in 2006, over 240 Junior Leagues have implemented local initiatives based on the belief that hands-on learning is the first step in addressing the urgent issues surrounding childhood obesity. The Kids in the Kitchen initiative builds upon The Junior League legacy of helping children and transforming communities, which has been the Mission of Junior League volunteers since the first League was founded in 1901. In the past year, the program has partnered with a list several organizations who share the same passion for combating childhood obesity including: Cartoon Network; EatingWell Magazine; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes‘ We Can! Program; U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC); United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); and many more.
The Junior League also invites the public to visit www.kidsinthekitchenajli.org, a comprehensive website with information focused on childhood health. On the website parents can find downloadable healthy recipes from chefs and celebrities that are fun for youngsters to make while teaching them about healthy food preparation and opening their diets to new healthy foods. There will also be Kids in the Kitchen TV, where parents and children can view healthy cooking demonstrations provided by EatingWell magazine. Additional resources include nutrition and exercise tips, quizzes, an educational game provided by Cartoon Network featuring characters from the hit series Camp Lazlo, and the USDA's MyPyramid Blast-Off game, a fun way for youngsters to learn the most current guidelines for daily food consumption and exercise.