Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*
The Healthy Way to Grow (HWTG) is a direct education and PSE intervention directed at early childhood education centers (ECE). HWTG is designed to promote the adoption of wellness policies and implementation of best practices at the center level to create cultures of health within child care facilities, which positively impact early childhood providers’ knowledge and skills about healthy eating and physical activity (PA), provide tools and resources for child care facilities to help parents and families increase healthy eating and PA, and expose children to healthy foods and PA at a young age. HWTG helps centers learn how to approach these issues and embed best practices into their ongoing activities to create a culture of health and wellness within their environments.
An implementation evaluation was conducted by Child Trends in 2015 to understand facilitators and barriers to successful HWTG implementation. The evaluation findings for the initial communities were positive across all 5 years, showing the benefits of participation in HWTG. After the first year of participating in HWTG, centers were more likely to develop policies, provide education (to children, staff, and families on the four HWTG topical areas), and monitor wellness practices. Centers with higher organizational readiness were more likely to offer education to staff and families. The evaluation also showed positive benefits of HWTG participation even after five years.
Limited costs for training and evaluation, depending on the level of support requested. Printing costs for workbooks and wellness policy posters.
*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.