Fuel for Fun: Cooking with Kids Plus Parents and Play

An estimated 31.7% of U.S. children and adolescents are considered to be overweight or obese. In recent years, Colorado’s ranking for childhood obesity rates dramatically worsened from 3rd (most healthy) to 23rd place. Fuel for Fun Cooking with Kids Plus Parents and Play is an innovative in-school program to encourage healthful food and physical activity behaviors in 4th-grade students and their families. Its long-term goal is to reduce the risk of childhood obesity by promoting healthful food and activity environments, policies, and behaviors. The program is composed of 5 evidence-based components, and was implemented in 8 schools in Fort Collins and Loveland in school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

Fuel for Fun Classroom – hands-on cooking and tasting lessons developed to enhance cooking skills and provide positive experiences with a wide variety of wholesome, healthy foods

Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) Active Recess program – promotes quality, daily, physical activity in youth and is designed to encourage maximum participation for every player, regardless of ability

Fuel for Fun Cafeteria Connection – links the classroom lessons to healthful foods in the school cafeteria and uses a variety of strategies to encourage students to make more healthful choices

Fuel for Fun Family – designed to engage parents, encourage their participation and reinforce what students experience through the Fuel for Fun classroom, recess, and cafeteria components

About Eating – a 6-lesson, on-line healthy eating and activity resource for busy parents

Evaluation of how Fuel for Fun impacts 4th-graders and their parents’ food behaviors and physical activity levels will be completed in 2017. Future Fuel for Fun work will include adapting it for use by Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) paraprofessionals in schools and providing resource kits to school districts. Fuel for Fun is an integrated research project funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information contact Leslie Cunningham-Sabo at leslie.cunningham-sabo@colostate.edu.

Cooking with kids