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ONE OF EVERY FIVE SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN in the United States is obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of obese U.S. children has more than tripled since the 1970s.

Now FSPH’s Office of Practice Across the Life Course, working with PCI Media Impact, has created compelling videos to reach some of the youngest students (ages 7-9) with important messages about healthy eating and physical activity, thanks to the vision and generous support of philanthropists Renee and Meyer Luskin.

Six short videos, each approximately 60-90 seconds in length and recorded in English and Spanish, present stories about family members supporting each other on their way to becoming healthier. FSPH students have been involved in reviewing scripts for the videos, as well as assisting in providing translations. The videos aim to engage the young children using fun and relatable characters, which then creates an opportunity for teacher-led classroom activities to augment and reinforce the messages. Faculty and students are working together to develop teaching materials to accompany the animated short films.

“Given the significant problem of childhood obesity, it’s critical that we reach young children with these messages,” says Dr. Michael Prelip, FSPH professor of community health sciences and associate dean for practice across the life course. “Humorous and engaging video content is a great way to get their attention so that teachers can take the next step to show them the value of healthy eating and physical activity. We are grateful to the Luskins for their vision in focusing on this critical age group and are excited about the potential impact of this collaboration among faculty, students, media professionals and the community.”