Contact: Daniela Boykin, RD


April 29, 2002, Berkeley, California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program (CANFit) recently launched Promoting Healthy Activities Together (P.H.A.T.) to combat poor eating habits like excessive soda and fast food consumption and inactivity among underserved and at risk youth, specifically African-American youth. This pilot program, begun in March, is reaching adolescents in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, and Berkeley.

Results from the CalTEENS study released by the Public Health Institute in 2000 found that nearly one in three adolescents in California is at risk or already overweight _ rates are highest in Latino and African American teens. The study also found that young African-Americans frequent fast food restaurants more than any other ethnic group, drink a lot of soda, lack nutrition education, and exercise infrequently. Since poor eating habits and lack of physical activity contribute to a higher rate of obesity, the campaign aims to reverse this disturbing trend, by helping these youth make life-long behavior changes including decreasing soda and fast food consumption and increasing activity.

P.H.A.T. embraces youth culture (music, dance, etc.) in organized settings such as community centers, athletic groups, and after-school programs. During April and May, P.H.A.T. participants will work with qualified choreographers and nutrition and fitness specialists every week to incorporate their own nutrition and fitness messages into raps, and artwork and develop their own dance and exercise routines. The youth's hard work and efforts will be shared with their peers, parents and fellow community members at a community health event co-hosted by Club One Fitness in downtown Oakland on June 1. Their contributions will also be featured in a hip-hop healthy activities video that will be available to communities nationwide later this year. CANFit staff are optimistic that in these organized settings, empowered youth will find the new campaign fresh, creative, and meaningful, leading to improved eating habits and increased physical activity. With the added incentive of being in a video, P.H.A.T. participants will create messages that resonate, fostering individual behavior change while reaching youth around the country.

In addition to conducting educational campaigns like P.H.A.T., CANFit awards grants to community organizations, provides scholarships to college students, and conducts training workshops for youth service providers. CANFit is a statewide non-profit organization funded by foundations and donors. Its mission is to engage communities and build their capacity to improve the nutrition and physical activity of California's low-income African American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and American Indian youth between the ages of 10-14.



Media Contact: Daniela Boykin, RD 510.644.1533


On Saturday, June 1, P.H.A.T. (Promoting Healthy Activities Together), a Community Health and Hip-Hop Showcase sponsored by the California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program (CANFit) and hosted by Club One Fitness City Center will increase community awareness of nutrition and fitness issues that affect underserved and at risk youth ages 10 to 14. The Showcase will feature performances and appearances by P.H.A.T. youth, Culture Shock and Future Shock dance troupes, DJs, MCs, and the Golden State Warriors. Following the performances, organized activities including hip-hop, break dance, congalese dance, and kickboxing classes will be open to all participants ages 10 and up. Free health and fitness screenings and information on local youth programs will also be available.

When: Saturday, June 1, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. (Performances by P.H.A.T. youth and guests will take place between 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM. Scenes from the event will be featured in a hip-hop, healthy activity video available to youth programs nationwide in September.)

Where: Club One Fitness City Center, 1200 Clay St. in downtown Oakland

Who: CANFit and the P.H.A.T. Youth: The American Indian Public Charter School, Bret Harte Academy Youth Center, Destiny Arts Center, Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa, Longfellow Middle School Extended Day Program, Tenderloin After School Program.

Supported by: Club One Fitness at City Center, the Golden State Warriors, Culture Shock San Francisco, and Children of Productions.

Who's Invited: The Showcase is an "open house" for local organizations, youth and families.

Interview Opportunities: Daniela Boykin, RD, CANFit Project Coordinator; Arnell Hinkle, MPH, RD, CANFit Executive Director; Kim Sims-Battitste, Club One Activities Director; Culture Shock, P.H.A.T. choreography; Keenan Frost-King, KMEL radio personality; Master of Ceremonies Mark Di Vita; Children of Productions, P.H.A.T. music production; Mike Shaw, Enough Said Productions, Director P.H.A.T. video.

Photo and Film Opportunities: Golden Sate Warriors personalities, Thunder, and Warrior Girls; Live DJs and celebrity host Keenan from KMEL; P.H.A.T. youth and local hip-hop dance troupes performing; young and old participants engaged in activities together including hip-hop dance; health agencies; and local youth program exhibits.



TARRYTOWN, New York - The Dannon Institute has recognized the California Adolescent Nutrition & Fitness (CANFit) Program's "Promoting Healthy Activities Together (P.H.A.T.) Campaign" as one of five of the most innovative and impactful programs in community nutrition education and communication in the country today. The program was named a winner in the sixth annual Dannon Institute Awards for Excellence in Community Nutrition®, a national awards program created to celebrate the accomplishments of local nutrition programs that have made a positive and significant impact on residents in the communities which they serve.

"We hope that by recognizing and sharing the experience of these nutrition educators, we'll encourage others to undertake similar initiatives," said Cheryl Achterberg, Ph.D., Dean, Schreyer Honors College & Professor of Nutrition, The Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the Dannon Institute Board of Directors. Dr. Achterberg encouraged nutrition educators to "learn from these programs and use them as a resource to develop or enhance projects that make a difference in their own communities, and to ultimately improve the health and well-being of people nationwide." The awards were presented during the American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo held recently in San Antonio, Texas.

The P.H.A.T. Campaign was created in an effort to reverse the growing rate of overweight and obesity among San Francisco Bay Area African-American teens. The campaign incorporated elements of hip-hop culture, including music, dance, emceeing, speech, language, and dress, into a health education program that teaches youth about healthy eating and physical activity. After completing hands-on, interactive activities about the effects too much fast food and soda and lack of activity, P.H.A.T. participants worked with local Hip-Hop talent to incorporate their own nutrition and fitness messages into raps, artwork and hip-hop dance routines which were presented at a P.H.A.T. community showcase.

"Since the early 1980s, hip-hop music has served as a powerful voice and form of expression for young black audiences," noted Arnell Hinkle, Executive Director, CANFit. "But, despite its popularity and appeal, few nutrition and physical activity programs have used its ability to speak to the needs and values of black youth - unfortunately, many of the industries that promote unhealthy eating and physical inactivity, like video games, fast food restaurants and soda manufacturers, have tapped into hip-hop as a communication vehicle."

Over eighty youth from six after-school programs participated in P.H.A.T. with over 250 people attending the P.H.A.T. Community Showcase. An instructional video about the P.H.A.T. campaign was created to allow other communities to address important nutrition and fitness issues in an easy-to-use, culturally appealing format. Information on how to obtain the video can be found on the CANFit website at

The Dannon Institute Awards for Excellence in Community Nutrition are given to programs that demonstrate innovation and impact in nutrition behavior change at the community level. Information on this and other Dannon Institute programs are available on-line at, via e-mail at or by telephone at (914) 366-5765.

The Dannon Institute is a non-profit organization founded to encourage, create and support programs in nutrition and health, and to enable people of all ages to learn and experience the role a healthy diet plays in their lifelong, overall health.