Houston Parks and Recreation Department

Healthy Kids Houston


Healthy Kids Houston

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department starts 2009 with a healthy kick by debuting its Healthy Kids Houston program at three HPARD community centers. Beginning in January, this community-based obesity intervention program seeks to improve nutrition knowledge, dietary behavior, and physical activity levels in pre-adolescent minority children. During the course of the next three years, the program will be expanded to nine more sites.


Healthy Kids Houston consists of three six-week sessions, each offering two hours of physical activity, nutrition education, and behavioral lessons twice a week. They will occur in winter, spring, and summer, with an aquatics fitness curriculum during the summer session.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of children and adolescents were classified as overweight in 2003 – 2004, with minority children having a disproportionately higher population exhibiting obesity than white children. This situation is worsened by the fact that minority children often do not have access to extracurricular programs that promote exercise, because of associated fees. Participation in Healthy Kids Houston is free of charge and offers a fun way to exercise and gain knowledge about nutrition. HPARD staff estimates that more than 900 9 – 13-year-olds will take part in the program over four years.


The Houston Parks and Recreation Department offers Healthy Kids Houston in association with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital including Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates, the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, and Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. Baylor College of Medicine secured a four-year, $1,490,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to fund the program.


For information on Healthy Kids Houston, please contact: tina.ortiz@houstontx.gov 
For information on the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, please contact: Mercedes Alejandro at 713.798.7007.