In most American households, holiday season does not equate to healthy eating. However, one local New York foundation is encouraging healthy cooking and eating among urban teenagers in New York now and throughout the year.
The Heckscher Foundation for Children recently provided funding for educational television programming on KickinKitchen.TV for this very purpose. With Heckscher's grant money, KickinKitchen was able to produce a series of video episodes aimed at middle school students and teenagers in urban environments. This support is part of a larger grantmaking collaboration with the New York Common Pantry, which is dedicated to reducing hunger in the city while promoting self-sufficiency and dignity. The pantry provided nearly 2.5 million meals to nearly 39,000 New York residents last year.
KickinKitchen, a KidsCOOK Productions program, targets this young demographic because around 80% of children overweight between the ages of 10-15 stayed obese through adulthood. Approximately nine million kids over age six in the United States are considered obese, so there is clearly a need for this type of television programming.
“At KickinKitchen.TV, we think everyone should have access to healthy food and nutritional literacy with a dash of music and comedy that celebrates real food. Our partnership with pantry is a recipe for making this happen in NYC,” KKTV Executive Producer, Natasha Lance Rogoff said in a press release.
Not only could programming move forward with Heckscher's grant, but New York families received holiday recipe postcards with their groceries provided to them by New York Common Pantry and KickinKitchen. Heckscher also provides support to the Yorkville Common Pantry (YCP) in East Harlem. Following participation in YCP’s 12-week nutrition program, nearly 80% of children and youth reported not eating any fast food meals in the past week, whereas most of these same children and youth reported between four and eight fast food meals per week prior to YCP’s nutrition interventions.
Any way you look at it, childhood obesity and television watching go hand in hand. Will Heckscher-funded programs like KickinKitchen help reverse the statistics in New York City? Only time will tell. (Read Heckscher Foundation for Children: New York Grants).