Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in the United States have tripled. Today, more than 23 million children and teens are overweight or obese, which places them at increased risk for serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. If this trend continues, for the first time in history, children will have shorter and less healthy lives than their parents.

In January of 2012, for the first time in 15 years, the USDA issued new guidelines for school lunches. These new guidelines increase offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods. We not only applaud these efforts but support them through partnering with the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Initiative (

The mission of the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Initiative (NCOAI) is to motivate, inspire, and educate children, parents, grandparents, concerned adults, and educators about the terrifying obesity epidemic facing our nation’s children, with the goal of identifying the issues associated with childhood obesity and implementing ”grass root” initiatives.

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We need your help! Educating children on making healthy eating choices can be easy, interactive and fun.



NO: Book One of 8th Day series deals with this timely issue in a story about 4 teens on a mission to stand up and once and for all say “no” to unhealthy school lunches. This book is designed to empower children; to not only teach them about eating healthy but also tell them, “You can do something about this? You can take care of your life. You can say ‘no’ to unhealthy foods. NO: Book One of 8th Day Series is not your typical young adult novel. Adults are also enjoying this fast paced, fact-filled novel with a purpose.

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Initiative (NCOAI). On November 2nd, 2012 almost 3000 children across the country participated in the “Shoot for 20 Stars Day” utilizing the AASDN “Shoot for 20 Stars Day” Placemat. This first Initiative produced data indicating that the participating children consumed more fruits, vegetables and whole grains through the use of this placemat. Participation in a “Shoot for 20 Stars Day” is free (small charge for placemats).

NCOAI Placemats. The NCOAI has developed three colorful, laminated, interactive food tracking placemats to meet the needs of all educational settings. These placemats incorporate a star-associated food rating system which provides a simple yet effective tool for educating, inspiring and motivating children to make healthy eating choices. Foods are rated according to their nutritional value: 5 stars (Gold) – best choices, 4 stars (Green) – good choices, 3 stars (Blue) – Ok choices, 2 stars (Red) – less healthy choices, and 0 stars (Grey) – avoid these choices. See “Placemats” for more information on the different types of laminated, interactive food tracking placemats designed to meet the needs of all educational settings.

Youth Nutrition Program. The specific goal of this program is to consolidate the plethora of information concerning childhood obesity and provide solutions /strategies that can be implemented at the family and school level. This series includes determining children’s caloric needs and sample menu plans based on caloric needs. This program is FREE. Continuing education units are also available for professionals wishing to receive contact hours. Click here for more details.