Compliance With the Healthy Eating Standards in YMCA After-School Programs

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In 2011, the YMCA of the US adopted Healthy Eating standards for all of their after-school programs (ASPs). The extent to which YMCA ASPs comply with the standards is unknown.


Twenty ASPs from all YMCA ASPs across South Carolina (N = 102) were invited to participate. Direct observation of the food and beverages served and staff behaviors were collected on 4 nonconsecutive days per ASP.


One ASP did not serve a snack. Of the remaining ASPs, a total of 26% served a fruit or vegetable and 32% served water every day; 26% served sugar-sweetened beverages, 47% served sugar-added foods, and only 11% served whole grains when grains were served. Staff members sat with the children (65%) or verbally promoted healthy eating (15%) on at least 1 observation day. Staff drank non-approved drinks (25%) or foods (45%) on at least 1 observation day. No ASPs served snacks family-style every day.

Conclusions and Implications:

Additional efforts are required to assist YMCA-operated ASPs in achieving these important nutrition standards.

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