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The Healthy Behaviors Initiative (HBI) is an after school (AS) program designed to enable and recognize on-site staff to offer practical, user-friendly and effective nutrition, physical activity (PA), and food security intervention activities. HBI is a multi-level effort for the children, site staff, sponsoring organizations, and the multi-county Superintendent regions to complement in-school and community resources. A key to success in the infrastructure is the opportunity for AS programs to become certified by the Center for Collaborative Solutions as a HBI Learning Center. Learning Centers provide modeling, peer support, mentoring, and exchange among AS sites in their geographic areas.

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating; Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

SNAP-Ed Strategies: PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

HBI targets children 5-12 years of age from households with incomes <185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who attend publicly funded AS programs. Publicly funded AS programs operate in school districts and non-profit settings, such as community youth organizations and the YMCA, in qualifying schools, census tracts, and feeder organizations.

Settings: Schools, Community-wide, Gardens (School/Community), Farmers Markets 

Age/Population Group: Elementary School

Race: All

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

HBI includes a set of 6 evidence-based Exemplary Practices that emerged from objective assessments of best practices, recognized AS leaders and experts, and consensus among advisory bodies. These practices aim to provide a comprehensive framework against which on-site leaders can self-assess, score and upgrade their AS programs. The 6 Exemplary Practices cover: (1) Vision and Goal-Setting, (2) Youth Development Practice, (3) Learning Experiences and Environments, (4) Partnering, (5) Food Security, and (6) Funding. Embedded within each are specifics related to nutrition and PA.  Food insecurity, a contributor to high obesity rates, is a distinctive - and perhaps unique - component that proved to have high resonance among participating programs.  HBI operates at all 5 levels of the Social Ecological Model (SEM): Individual, Peer and Family, Institutional, Region, and Policy/Advocacy/Norms.

Intervention Materials

At the centerpiece of the HBI is Changing Lives, Saving Lives, A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Exemplary Practices in Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Food Security in Afterschool Programs. This Guide is designed to help program directors, leadership team members, site directors and partners-in an intentional and systematic way-strengthen the AS afterschool program to help students develop healthy lifestyle habits.  Each chapter defines and explains a particular practice and offers concrete examples of how the Healthy Behaviors afterschool programs developed and strengthened their approaches, overcome obstacles, and achieved their goals. Indicators at the end of each chapter help establish baselines and identify what to address. Programs are encouraged to focus on one or two high priority areas at a time and then assess progress at three- and six-month intervals.

Download Complete Guide, Practices/Indicators, and Indicator Worksheets here.  

Evidence Summary

In 2010, a summary report used the SEM to report results in 3 locations: Inner City Los Angeles (LA) (A World Fit for Kids!), Club Y.E.S in the rural Central Valley, the YMCA of Silicon Valley in Metropolitan San Jose. As subsequent report, Combating the Childhood Obesity Crisis, reported on HBI initiatives conducted by Mt. Diablo Cares in the San Francisco Bay Area and Fitness 4 Life on the Central Coast. A World Fit For Kids! in inner city LA conducted a more rigorous study (Oct 2013) which reported the following: a substantial decline in soft drink consumption, 90% reporting increased daily PA, a 50% increase in children passing the state-mandated Fitnessgram test, a near-tripling of children with adequate abdominal strength, half the children lowering their BMI, and overweight children losing an average of 5 pounds. 

Evidence Base: Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

 Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST)Changes - Medium Term (MT)Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT)Population Results (R)
IndividualST1, ST3MT1, MT3  
Environmental SettingsST7MT5, MT6LT5, LT6, LT9
Sectors of InfluenceST8  
Evaluation Materials

Progress Indicators, included at the end of each Practice, are designed to assess where the program and/or sites are at any given point in time from starting out in the process to reaching exemplary levels. They help set priorities, establish goals, create action plans, and measure and manage the changes that are occurring in real time and over time. Begin with establishing baselines for the indicators in each chapter and then revisit them every two to three months.

Success Story
Additional Information

Website: The HBI website ( links to a variety of resources, including the Guide.

Contact Person(s):

Kim Settle

Program Services Administrator, Center for Collaborative Solutions

Phone: (916) 567-9911



*Updated as of August 4, 2023