Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise (CHILE) Plus

CHILE Plus, the Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise program, was a randomized control trial designed to provide preschool aged children and their families with access to nutrition and physical activity programming. Specifically geared to target underserved and low-income populations in New Mexico, CHILE Plus worked primarily with Head Start and childcare centers that enrolled Latino and/or American Indian children aged 3-5 years old. Materials for this program were designed to engage mothers, though fathers and other caregivers were also encouraged to participate. The program made use of a multi-modal learning approach including in-person training sessions and an interactive online learning platform engineered to deliver 64 nutrition lessons and 115 structured physical activities over the course of two years. Strategies and materials used to engage families in programming included newsletters, activities, and recipes. Checklists completed by teachers were used to evaluate the program, documenting the weekly completion of nutrition lessons, the number of children present, how many children tasted the food provided, and minutes of structured physical activity completed per day. Participants in the CHILE Plus program had an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption and children who helped to prepare meals were found to eat more fruits and vegetables than those children who were not included in meal prep. Teachers for the program reported conducting 1,227 CHILE Plus classroom nutrition lessons, with 97.4% of all classroom days in session including at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity.
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