Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

Grant Alerts and Help

Healthy Kids Challenge® (HKC) does not administer grants. We do, however, post grant opportunities offered by other organizations and agencies that may help you support kids in making healthy eating and physical activity choices.

HKC's staff provides assistance and resources to make a healthy difference for kids and families! Contact HKC for ideas and resources.


Grant Announcements

Please Note: HKC does not administer the following funding opportunities.

Youth Foundation Grants
Deadline: Rolling

Grants providing opportunities for kids to participate in community-based youth athletic programs and camps that emphasize active lifestyles.


Why and How Healthy Kids Challenge® Can Help

About HKC

HKC is a nationally recognized program, directed and led by registered licensed dietitians with years of school, program and community wellness experience.

HKC is the exclusive nutrition education partner for SPARK, one of the best physical education programs in the world.

The Top 4 Reasons to Contact HKC Today!

  1. In partnership with SPARK, HKC helps guide best practice solutions to the growing problem of inactive and poorly nourished kids.

    HKC continuously strives to align the Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum with the most recent nationally recognized standards such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT), the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Out-of School Time Framework (HOST) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Guide for Effective Nutrition Interventions and Education (GENIE).

  2. HKC's low cost, evidence-based resources are developed for flexible implementation. Healthy eating activities incorporate active movement that add minutes of motion to the day.

  3. HKC supports the goals of the Let’s Move! initiative, the HealthierUS School Challenge, and other leading initiatives.

  4. From New York City, the Big Apple, to sunny California, HKC is helping to create healthier school environments that last far beyond a single grant!

Contact HKC
An HKC consultant will ask you a few questions, learn about your current program, and listen to your vision for tailoring a grant program. In partnership, we'll create a program that will WORK and LAST.

HKC-SPARK Specific Planning Helps

You want (or must include) nutrition education and want to connect it with physical activity in your grant application, but how are you going to do it? Here are some tips from HKC and SPARK, the most field tested and research based PE program ever. To date, more than 150 PEP grants have been awarded to organizations that chose to implement SPARK curriculum and training!

Plan an IGNITE workshop into the proposal. SPARK-HKC sample text for grant writers. Take steps to create a culture of health, where the total environment supports healthy eating and physical activity opportunities every day.

  • Develop or enhance nutrition education. The HKC curriculum is comprehensive, yet it is formatted for great flexibility. That makes it easy for us to help you customize it to meet your needs. Curriculum samples:
  • Use HKC resources to integrate nutrition education into your classrooms, afterschool program or physical education classes.
  • Create and/or enhance physical activity and nutrition-related policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout students’ everyday lives.
  • Make school nutrition services a key player in developing a healthier environment.
  • Identify tools to assess progress in elementary and middle schools.

HKC Resources

Printed Resources
Printed resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Balance My Day™, available for grades K-2 and 3-5, is a comprehensive curriculum, aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) standards. The curriculum has clearly defined nutrition education objectives, outcomes, and measures.
  • Take Healthy Action Guide directs wellness team actions.
  • Wellness Solutions Toolkit 6-booklet toolkit. Each booklet focuses on one of HKC Healthy6 behaviors + MyPlate for Grades K-8. The content is designed to help school and community program wellness teams promote and link healthy behavior messages throughout the school and home.
  • Explore MyPlate with School Nutrition Guidebook, a fun, easy-to-use guide with tips and tools for school nutrition services managers and teams! Action ideas are designed to increase participation through marketing and promotion and help meet the HealthierUS School Challenge.

The HKC mission is to “develop leaders who help kids and families eat healthy and move more."

The HKC model background research

The HKC program is based on the social cognitive theory. The application of social cognitive theory to health promotion and behavioral change is the model for HKC evaluation. Social cognitive theory seeks to affect health knowledge, self-regulatory skills (motivation and decision-making), and self-efficacy (confidence level) by offering programs that work through these components. The HKC “Hear-See-Do” focus emphasizes commitment to promote both passive and active learning within every aspect of the program. HKC recognizes the impact of social support on children’s attainment of the desired immediate outcomes (health knowledge, self-regulatory skills, and self-efficacy) and eventually better health outcomes.

Social cognitive theory holds that social-environmental contingencies, personal cognitive capabilities, and behavioral skills are linked and interact (Bandura 1977,1986). Interventions based on this theory target each of these components to influence the adoption of a new health-enhancing behavior (Perry, Story, & Lytle, 1997). Specifically, Bandura (1997) has recommended four components for programs to promote health behaviors: an informational component to increase knowledge, a component to teach self-regulatory skills, a component to increase self-efficacy (confidence level) in self-regulatory skills, and a component to increase social support for behavior change. HKC actively pursued this model when designing the program model and all four components are enacted through the HKC “Hear, See, Do” methodology.

For the most effective assessment, HKC curriculum measures, aligned with HECAT identified outcomes (knowledge, skills, and behavior), are directly linked to the learning activities. Policy, environmental and other measures are based on gold standards include the Centers for Disease Control School Health Index and National Association of State Boards of Education School Health Policy Guide, and HealthierUS School Challenge Guidelines.

Studies present evidence of success with the following variables, which are components of HKC programs:

  • Nutrition information. The type of information provided to participants in order to increase knowledge and facilitate motivation is critical. Information that is understandable, personally and culturally relevant, and that increases one's knowledge about the particular behaviors associated with poor health outcome is more helpful than general health information (e.g., prevalence or etiology of a particular disease) (Fisher & Fisher, 2000).

  • Self-regulatory. Teaching self-regulatory skills is an important component. Teaching self-regulatory skills can be accomplished by providing social models who themselves are successful at engaging in healthy behaviors. Increasing self-efficacy about the ability to apply these skills in everyday life can solidify these skills.

  • Self-efficacy (confidence in being able to achieve wellness goals). Teaching self-efficacy involve having children understand realistic goal setting and rehearse or practice the behaviors that lead to the ability to practice health promoting behaviors.

  • Social support. Components of the social cognitive theory have been widely applied and tested among community and school-based interventions designed to promote health behaviors in children and adolescents (Botvin, Eng, & Williams, 1980; Perry, Kelder, & Klepp, 1994; Perry, Killen, Telch, Slinkar, & Danaher, 1980). An extensive body of research has documented that self-efficacy is an important mediator of health behavior (e.g., Colleti, Supnick, & Payne, 1985; Condiotte & Lichtestein, 1981; Holman & Lorig, 1992; Strecher, DeVellis, Becker, & Rosenstock, 1986). Thus, although the model itself is difficult to test (Fisher & Fisher, 2000), empirical support for components of the model and the usefulness of the model in designing health promotion programs is well documented.

  • Comprehensive, coordinated school health education. Advocates (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of State Boards of Education and others) suggest that in addition to developing health curriculum, school-based health services, and health-enhancing environments, comprehensive school programs also need to (Allensworth & Kolbe, 1987):
    • Include the development of health policy, community partnerships,
    • Provide healthy food services
    • Offer counseling
    • Provide physical education
    • Offer health promotion for staff and faculty

In this light, HKC has positioned itself as a flexible and broad-based nutrition-related intervention that aims to give kids access to health information and healthy role models in all aspects of the community to encourage healthy living as a habit. HKC has worked to incorporate education and encouragement of teacher and staff health choices in order to truly alter the attitudes and behaviors of the community interacting with the children.

HKC Recognition

HKC is nationally recognized:

  • American Dietetic Association’s “Award of Excellence for Community Dietetics”
  • National Advertising Council “CAN (Community Action Network) Award”
  • Cooking Light named HKC one of the “Top 12 Change Makers in Nutrition” over the past 25 years
  • Cooper Clinic study “Silver” ranking for programming
  • National Dairy Council honored HKC as “Most Sustainable Grant Project”

Selected References

  • Allensworth, D. & Kolbe, L. “The comprehensive school health program: Exploring an expanded concept.” Journal of School Health, 1987. 57, 409-412.
  • Bandura, A. “Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavior Change,” Psychological Review. 1977. 84, 191-215.
  • Bandura, A. Social Foundations of Thought and Action. A Social Cognitive Theory. 1986, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Bandura, A. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. 1997. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
  • Botvin, G., Eng, A., & Williams, C. “Preventing the onset of cigarette smoking through life skills training.” Preventive Medicine, 1980. 9, 135-143.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC).
  • Colleti, G., Supnick, J. A., & Payne, T. J. “The smoking self-efficacy questionnaire (SSEQ): Preliminary scale development and validation,” Behavior Assessment, 1985. 7, 249-260.
  • Condiotte, M. M., & Lichtestein, E. “Self-efficacy and relapse in smoking cessation programs,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1981. 49, 648-658.
  • Fisher, J. D., & Fisher, W. A. Theoretical approaches to individual level change in HIV risk behavior. In J. L. Peterson & R. J. DiClemente (Eds.), Handbook of HIV Prevention(pp. 3-55). 2000. New York: Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers.
  • Foster GD, A Policy-Based School Intervention to Prevent Overweight and Obesity. Pediatrics April 2008;121(4):e794-e802.
  • Geier AB, The Relationship Between Relative Weight and School Attendance Among Elementary School Children. Obesity 2007;15:2157–2161.
  • Judge S, Jahns L. Association of overweight with academic performance and social and behavioral problems: an update from the early childhood longitudinal study. J Sch Health, 2007;77(10):672–678.
  • Holman, H., & Lorig, K. Perceived self-efficacy in self-management of chronic disease. In R. Schwarzer (Ed.), Self-efficacy: Thought control of action (pp. 305 – 323). 1992. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
  • Murphy JM, Drake JE, Weineke KM. “Academics & Breakfast Connection Pilot: Final Report on New York’s Classroom Breakfast Project.” Nutrition Consortium of New York State. Albany, New York. July 2005.
  • Perry, C. L., Kelder, S. H., & Klepp, K. I. “Community-wide cardiovascular disease prevention with young people: Long term outcomes of the class of 1989 study.” European Journal of Public Health, 1994. 4, 188-194.
  • Perry, C., Killen, J., Telch, M., Slinkard, L., & Danaher, B. “Modifying smoking behavior of teenagers: A school-based intervention.” American Journal of Public Health, 1980. 70, 722-725.
  • Perry, C.L., Story, M., & Lytle, L.A. Promoting Healthy Dietary Behaviors. In R.P. Weissberg, T.P. Gullotta, R.L. Hampton, B.A. Ryan, and G.R. Adams (Eds.), Enhancing Children’s Wellness Vol. 8: Issues in Children’s and Families’ Lives (pp. 214-249). 1997. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Productions.
  • Strecher, V. J., DeVellis, B. M., Becker, M. H., & Rosenstock, I. M. (1986). The role of self-efficacy in achieving health behavior. Health Education Quarterly, 13, 73-91.

Evaluation Specific References

  • Byrd-Bredbenner C, O'Connell LH, Shannon B. Junior high home economics curriculum: its effect on students' knowledge, attitude, and behavior. Home Econ Res J 1982;11(2):123-33.
  • Byrd-Bredbenner C, O'Connell LH, Shannon B, Eddy JM. A nutrition curriculum for health education: its effect on students' knowledge, attitude, and behavior. J Sch Health 1984;54(10):385-8.
  • Byrd-Bredbenner C, Shannon B, Hsu L, Smith DH. A nutrition education curriculum for senior high home economics students: its effect on students' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. J Nutr Educ 1988;20(6):341-6.
  • Contento I, Balch GI, Bronner YL, et al. Nutrition education for school-aged children. J Nutr Educ 1995;27(6):298-311.)
  • German MJ, Pearce J, Wyse BW, Hansen RG. A nutrition component for high school health education curriculums. J Sch Health 1981;51(3):149-53.
  • Lewis M, Brun J, Talmage H, Rasher S. Teenagers and food choices: the impact of nutrition education. J Nutr Educ 1988;20(6):336-40.
  • Shannon B, Chen AN. A three-year school-based nutrition education study. J Nutr Educ 1988;20(3):114-24.
  • USDA, Food and Nutrition Service. Nutrition Education: Principles of Sound Impact Evaluation.