Three More JCCs Get Grant to Fight Childhood Obesity with Discover CATCH

Three Jewish Community Centers have received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) through its “Healthy Kids, Healthy Families” initiative to implement JCC Association’s program Discover: CATCH Early Childhood. The JCCs in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston will now be able to train staff to put into operation the early-childhood nutrition-and-activity education program.

“We’re proud to give our support to these JCCs as Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partners,” said Catherine Oliveros, director, Community Affairs, BCBSTX. “Through their work, we expect to see measurable improvement in children’s health.”

Discover: CATCH Early Childhood is a program from JCC Association, the leadership network for the JCC Movement, which focuses on developing healthy habits in very young children. Such habits should lead to healthy nutrition and activity choices later on. JCC Association trainers teach JCC staff specially designed games and activities to keep all children moving and having fun. “It is easier to introduce healthy food and activity practices early on,” said Steven Becker, vice-president, health and wellness services at JCC Association, “than to try and change habits later in life.”

Jewish values also play an important part, since Jewish tradition places great emphasis on taking care of one’s physical health as well as spiritual condition. “Our bodies are gifts from the Creator,” said Mark Horowitz, director of early childhood and family engagement at JCC Association, “and it is our responsibility to keep them in good working order.”

Discover CATCH: Early Childhood is based on the CATCH afterschool program developed at the University of Texas. The evidence-based program has proven successful in combating childhood obesity, a critical health problem among American children. Discover CATCH is now offered in 32 JCCs across North America, and is recognized as part of the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. For more information on Discover CATCH, contact sbecker@jcca.com.

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