What is N.E.A.T.?
N.E.A.T., or Nutrition Education Activity Training, is a program designed to teach and promote healthy eating behaviors among youth in Knox County. N.E.A.T. began as an initiative to combat childhood obesity and now reaches more than 550 children in afterschool sites. During the school year, trained volunteers lead interactive discussions and games centered on healthy eating and physical activity. Children also taste test healthy snacks as part of the lessons.
Seeking to enhance the N.E.A.T. Program and create healthy environments, KCHD and local after-school programs developed the “N.E.A.T.-Approved” designation. This designation requires after-school providers to incorporate environment and policy change that promote healthy eating and physical activity at their sites.
- At least one component of the after-school snack must be a “GO” food, defined by the GO-SLOW-WHOA Food List
- “WHOA” foods will not be offered at any time at the program site
- 100% fruit juice is excluded from the “GO” category; it is a “SLOW” food
- Sugar sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices or energy drinks are not allowed to be consumed at the program site
- Food is not allowed to be used as a reward or punishment
- Program sites must adopt the “N.E.A.T. Approved” vending option or remove vending machines from the program site
- At least fifteen minutes per hour must constitute physical activity for each participant
- Physical activity is not allowed to be used as a punishment
- The program site will host at least one family event per year that promotes healthy eating and physical activity
What N.E.A.T. educators are saying
"I loved many things about the N.E.A.T. program! My favorite was watching the kids learn throughout the semester. I was excited to see that they remembered information from previous lessons and were able to repeat the information back to me. The snacks were a huge incentive and made the kids excited to participate in the lessons."
"The NEAT program as a whole was fabulous! It is a great, non-stressful way to get experience with kids, teaching them a small lesson. It allowed me to get a taste of what working in a classroom would be like without all the worry of a regular teacher. It is really effective and great to see that they were listening to me every step of the way! Thank you so much for the opportunity, and I hope to continue with you next year!"
"As both a YMCA employee and a NEAT Program intern for the Knox County Health Department, I was afforded the opportune view to see the impact the efforts of the program made on the children at the YMCA. After a year with them and the NEAT program, the kids are better equipped to make healthy eating choices and know they are keeping their bodies healthy in order to live fuller lives."
"I was a volunteer for NEAT last semester at E.V. Davidson. It was a great experience interacting with the kids there and I would like to do so again this semester."