Children's Museum of Manhattan Receives Grant from Walmart for Childhood Health Initiative

The Children's Museum of Manhattan received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation's New York State Giving Program to explore the most effective model for expansion and replication of the museum's EatSleepPlay early childhood health initiative in order to create the initiative in other places throughout New York City and its nearby regions.

The Children's Museum of Manhattan's early childhood health initiative, EatSleepPlay, is designed to help young children and their families prevent the onset of behaviors that lead to obesity. Aimed at children ages 2-5, this early childhood health initiative was commissioned to the museum by the National Institutes of Health.

CMOM EatSleepPlay Initiative
A kids pure yoga session during CMOM's Sleep Festival, a part of the EatSleepPlay early childhood health initiative. Courtesy CMOM

Now, after three years of piloting and evaluating the program, the Walmart Foundation's New York State Giving Program has granted CMOM $50,000 to support the development of a replicable model of EatSleepPlay so that the initiative may be expanded and put in place throughout New York City and its neighboring regions.

"In three years since its implementation, four separate research reports have documented the effectiveness of the curriculum, community outreach programs, and the exhibition itself, in terms of bridging the distance between information and behavioral and attitudinal changes regarding diet, sleep, and physical activity," says Andrew Ackerman, executive director of CMOM. "The grant from Walmart allows us to explore which components of the initiative to bring to scale and formulate a plan to do so. Our aim is to bring the positive behavior changes we've seen to a larger population, both in New York City and regionally."

Over the next year, CMOM will continue to deliver the arts-based obesity prevention program to its audiences of school staff, teachers, childcare providers, parents and families and evaluate the EatSleepPlay model for potential scalability.

“Walmart is pleased to be supporting CMOM’s EatSleepPlay initiative which has had an extremely positive impact in terms of changing eating behavior and reducing childhood obesity within at-risk communities,” said Steven Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Walmart. “They are successfully moving the needle in an area of people’s lives that is often a challenge to change.”

With the financial support from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program, CMOM will identify which program elements can be replicated and disseminated on a broader scale, and develop a strategy to successfully adapt and respond to growing demand and need for the EatSleepPlay early childhood health initiative locally and, eventually, nationally.

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