An Effective Practice
We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition) is a national education program developed by the National Institutes of Health to help communities and organizations address the important issue of childhood obesity. The We Can! program focuses on three important behaviors – healthy food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced TV screen time – to help children ages 8-13 maintain a healthy weight. The program combines materials development and dissemination, community involvement, media outreach, national partnerships and program assessment. We Can! is unique among obesity prevention programs in its focus on activities for parents and families as a primary group for influencing youth behaviors. The youth and parent materials used in the intervention are science-based and evidence-based.
Goal / Mission
The goal of We Can! is to bring families and communities together to promote healthy weight in children ages 8 through 13 through improved food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time.
Results / Accomplishments
It has been shown that youth participating in We Can! have improved on multiple measures, including food knowledge and attitudes, healthy eating behaviors, physical activity attitudes, and screen-time behaviors. In a recent evaluation of nine We Can! sites, data analyses showed that there were significant increases in 8 of the 14 measures in accordance with We Can! objectives. The outcomes included an increase in knowledge of healthier foods, an increase in self-efficacy regarding food attitudes and choices (i.e. making healthier food choices), reduced time in front of the television, and an increase in physical activity. In the analysis of the parent curriculum, there were statistically significant increases in 12 of the 15 measures relevant to We Can! objectives. The outcomes included improvements in a variety of knowledge, attitude, and behavioral intent measures including energy balance, portion size, physical activity and screen time. All increases measured improvements from pre- to post-test among all participants.
About this Promising Practice
- Primary Contact
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Building 31, Room 5A52
31 Center Drive MSC 2486
Bethesda, MD 20892
Health / Children's Health
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
- The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kid; National Cancer Institute
- The National Institutes of Health
- Date of publication
- Target Audience
- Children, Teens, Families