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CATCHing on to healthy eating in Simcoe County; Green means GO!

The following blog post is part two in a series written by Fiona Cascagnette, Vice President of Child Development and Family Support Programs at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.

Late in 2012 we shared the exciting CATCH program with you and news about the tremendous impact it is having within our Simcoe/Muskoka communities.YMCA March Break Camp 2012

CATCH: A ‘Coordinated Approach to Child Health’, brings families, schools and communities together to ensure that children are growing up in a healthy, active environment.

One of the integral components of the CATCH program is nutrition.  With childhood obesity, diabetes and many more healthy conditions reaching epidemic proportions within North America, the YMCA is committed to helping support families and young people make more positive choices for their health and overall well-being.  The CATCH program helps us fulfill this commitment.

The Canadian CATCH program developed the Nutritional component of the program in accordance with the Canadian Food Guide, in turn providing a consistent and easy to follow means for both children and caregivers to make healthier choices and positive change.

How the Nutritional Component of CATCH Works

A stop light system makes it easy to know what foods to choose and which ones to avoid:

  • Green means go: eat as many or as much of these foods as you like, yum!
  • Yellow means slow: these are every now and then foods to be eaten within moderation.
  • Red means whoa: Junk food to avoid as much as possible, keep these out of the shopping cart and therefore out of the cupboards!

As with the entire CATCH program, it is based out of schools and school programs, yet all of the resources and materials are designed to be shared with families in order to educate and encourage consistency and understanding throughout all areas of a child’s life.  Parents and caregivers are a huge influence on a child’s behavior and lifestyle choices.

In order for the CATCH Nutritional component to have a really impact, it is important that the whole community gets involved.

Success of the program is currently measured by the schools.

The YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka’s Vision is to be the… ‘recognized leader in lifelong health and personal growth’; as a way of bringing this vision to life, the Y is working with community to increase public awareness of the CATCH nutrition program and the Red, Yellow and Green Light model with plans for nutritional product labeling as well as more community wide initiatives in the near future.

If you would like to find out more about this program and how to get your school and/or family involved please leave a comment below.

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