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Table of Contents

1. What does CANFIT do?

Since 1993, CANFIT has been at the heart of the movement to increase healthy eating and physical activity among adolescents in low income communities and communities of color. When it comes to improving the health of today's youth, CANFIT is a leader in building community leadership and stimulating change at multiple levels, from individual behavior to public policy.

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2. What does CANFIT stand for?

CANFIT stands for: Communities. Adolescents. Nutrition. Fitness.

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3. How did CANFIT start?

CANFIT was found as a result of a class-action lawsuit involving a food company that was charged with fraudulent, misleading and deceptive advertising in marketing sugary cereals to children in California. CANFIT formed in 1993 and, since that time, we have expanded our reach beyond California.

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4. Why does CANFIT focus on serving youth in low-income communities and communities of color?

CANFIT primarily focuses on low income, African-American, American Indian, Latino/Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander adolescents. Many of these historically underserved populations have limited access to affordable, healthy foods and safe places for physical activity. Further, there is a lack of resources that address cultural issues and the nutrition and physical activity needs of low income youth of color. As a result, they disproportionally experience health problems including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

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5. Why the focus on adolescent youth?

Adolescent age youth in today’s world are faced daily with many lifestyle choices as they begin to take control of their own health. They are also going through puberty, a time when it is especially important for them to get all of the nutrients they need to support growth and maturation. However, they are doing so in a challenging environment, and are being constantly bombarded with messages from the media, advertising and their peers. Not to mention, compared to other grade levels, healthy eating and physical activity tend to be minimally focused on in middle schools. Although CANFIT supports youth of all ages, we specifically create, advocate and support resources and tools that will encourage adolescent youth to seek a healthier lifestyle.

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6. Why is advocating for policy important?

A lot of scientific research is done on nutrition, physical activity, the availability of healthy foods, etc. However, these findings do not translate into visible change unless policies are formed and implemented in communities. CANFIT starts with community organizations and assesses their needs and feedback. We use this information to advocate for policies that are appropriate, feasible and useful for the communities. With policy guidelines in place that support good nutrition and physical activity, local organizations are better equipped with resources and funding that will allow them to promote healthy lifestyles.

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7. Does CANFIT do direct service work with youth?

Because we work nationally, CANFIT has found it to be more effective to build the skills and capacity of youth providers and parents, who in turn work directly with youth. However, all of our materials lesson plans and campaigns have been piloted directly with youth.

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8. Does CANFIT work with schools?

CANFIT has worked with schools in the past, but focuses most of its work assisting after school programs and community youth organizations that serve lower income youth and/or youth from communities of color. We recognize that youth are sometimes disenfranchised by the school system and there is a need to engage them in out-of-school time and in their communities. CANFIT empowers adults and the youth themselves to ameliorate the nutrition and physical activity conditions in their communities.

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9. How does CANFIT define healthy food?

In today’s challenging environment, it becomes difficult to always access healthy, affordable and local foods. The situation may not always be ideal, but you can still make smart decisions by choosing the healthier options at restaurants, groceries and convenient stores. For example, choosing apples instead of cookies, water instead of sodas, etc. are a good start.

We describe healthy food as:

  • Minimally processed & contain whole grain ingredients
  • High in fibers and naturally-occurring nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients)
  • Moderate in calories and low in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and sodium
  • Flavored & colored with natural ingredients rather than artificial flavors
  • Served & packaged in reasonable portion sizes
  • Grown and produced in a manner that is protective of the environment and human health (e.g., living wage and safe working conditions)

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10. What type of physical activity does CANFIT promote?

Young people need to be exposed to physical activity that is fun, allows them to be moving and active, is comfortable, inclusive, non-threatening and promotes life-long skill building, success and enjoyment. We recommend at least 60 minutes a day, which can be done throughout the day and with a combination of activities such as walking, biking, martial arts, dancing, sports, inclusive games, etc.

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11. How do I get more information about an internship or job?

Our internships are offered to undergraduate and graduate students studying nutrition, physical activity or culinary arts related fields. Our internship exposes students to, among other things, health policy and culturally relevant program work. More information about our internships, qualifications, and the application process are available here. Jobs will be announced on our events section of our website. For more information, email us at: info@canfit.org.

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12. How do I contact CANFIT for more information or to get involved?

CANFIT values its direct relationship with both communities and policymakers and invites you to directly contact any of the staff members. You can also contact us through the information below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

CANFIT 2140 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 610 Berkeley, CA 94704 Phone: 510.644.1533 Fax: 510.644.1535 Email: info@canfit.org

DONATE to CANFIT to support our work to improve the physical activity and nutrition environments for underserved communities.

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