When the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program was launched in 2006, childhood obesity was just starting to ramp up as a major concern among public policymakers. Now, with more than 200 individual Junior Leagues sponsoring Kids in the Kitchen programs in their own communities, childhood obesity is a front burner issue.

The Kids in the Kitchen birthday celebration comes shortly after encouraging news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a 43 percent drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade. The findings support the key concept behind the Kids in the Kitchen program – that the fight against childhood obesity has to start when kids are young.

Kids in the Kitchen succeeded because it brings together kids and their parents in the friendliest room in the house – the kitchen – to make fun but healthy foods together,” said Susan Danish, Executive Director of AJLI. “What is encouraging is the desire of so many of our members to implement the program in their own communities, often while adapting it to meet needs they perceive at the grassroots level that would not be obvious on a national level.”

Susan also thanked Kashi, the premier natural food and lifestyle company, for the support it has provided to the Kids in the Kitchen program as well as through its awards to individual Junior Leagues for their implementation of the program.

Junior Leagues from around the U.S. that have received Kashi awards include:

  • The Junior League of Corpus Christi for its efforts to deal with an epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes among young children because of poor nutrition.
  • The Junior League of Huntsville for providing interactive, hands-on activities and programming that informs at-risk children about healthy eating habits while exposing them to positive lifestyle choices.
  • The Junior League of Cedar Rapids for providing nutrition education as well as healthy and affordable meals for teens in the foster care system.

So, Happy Birthday, Kids in the Kitchen – and many more to come!