Intergenerational Program

Currently the most common intergenerational family consists of a grandparent raising their grandchild in Hawaii. In 2008, AARP reported that in the United States 6.1 million grandchildren live with their grandparents and 40% of all grandparents, either the grandmother or the grandfather, or both care for their grandchildren. In the state of Hawaii, 28.5% of grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren according to the most current Hawaii Census from 2000. There has been a substantial increase of intergenerational families within the entire United States. In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase of 8% of kids in the U.S., almost six million kids, were raised by their grandparents. These intergenerational families are occurring in all levels of socioeconomic groups.

The Nutrition Education for Wellness program (NEW) Lifeskills in Food Educations Integrated and Intergenerational (LIFE-II) goal is to provide low-income intergenerational families with a program that focuses on building and strengthening important life skills through food education and resource management. LIFE-II has developed two objectives of learning that are used within the intergenerational program that address family meals and food management. These objectives expose the participants to a wide range of knowledge in nutrition education. LIFE-II’s mission is to make the communication about food among family members easier, fun, and more effective for all ages.

A family meal is considered a meal that is consumed by multiple members of a family in a central location. Research has shown that families, who eat more than five meals together with their children per week, are less likely to have a teen that will abuse drugs or alcohol. Healthy interactions among the family are important for optimal development of individuals. The program will attempt to help intergenerational families to engage in the process of creating family meals and suggests different approaches to use, such as shopping smart.

Understanding food management is a broad process that involves the proper oversight of food selection, preparation, presentation, and preservation. Intergenerational families encounter challenges in managing food availability and consumption. One example is the individual nutritional needs and preferences of the wide age range of family members from grandparents to children. Understanding how to properly mange food can have a positive impact on the overall health of the family, and possibly help to overcome the problem of food insecurity. Food security, as explained by the United States Department of Agriculture, occurs when an individual’s availability of food is equal to or higher than the food demanded by the individual. An individual who has food insecurities is someone who does not have the availability of “nutritionally adequate and safe foods.”  Research shows that there is a relationship between food insecurity and poor food choices. LIFE-II’s intergenerational program provides the knowledge to help families with limited resources and emphasizes the importance of safe food management practices.

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Contact Information

LIFE-II Intergenerational Program
1955 East-West Rd. #306
Honolulu, HI 96822


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••••• Updated September 26, 2011 •••••

University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Human Nutrition, Food & Animal Sciences Department of Family & Conusmer Sciences Cooperative Extension Service Nutrition Education for Wellness Home