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Hopscotch in the Defense Commissary Agency

by DoD DeCA December 7, 2009

Child on hopscotch at the grocery storeWalk through a military commissary and you are likely to see children happily playing hopscotch in the fruit and vegetable section. To help promote physical activity as part of the “Eat Healthy and Be Active Your Way” program in commissaries, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) has installed a permanent hopscotch game display on the floor in the produce section of most commissaries. This was implemented to help demonstrate the link between physical activity and making healthy choices when shopping for food.

The hopscotch game is making an impact on children such as John Murray Jr. John’s mom says, “Whenever we go to the commissary he is so excited and always asks, ‘Can I hopscotch in the apples?’ The game allows John to play and I use it to let him pick out the fruit he wants to take home.”

 Recently John’s mom shared a shopping adventure where he was already out of the buggy skipping towards produce saying, "Mama I get to hopscotch, yeah for me." He rounded the corner and she followed him. He had stopped and was looking back at her with big tears in his eyes and said, "Mama I can't get to hopscotch no more," as there was a pallet of watermelons covering the hopscotch game. John’s mom tried to reassure him that maybe next time he could play hopscotch. However he said, "No Mama I always get to hopscotch real good two times and pick out my fruit from the hopscotch."


Around that time Mr. Raymond Lane, Deputy Store Director came by, and seeing the big tears in John’s eyes he asked what was wrong. John pointed to the pallet of watermelons covering the display and replied, "I can't hopscotch in the apples today." Mr. Lane quickly had the pallet of watermelons moved and John was free to hopscotch.


Fast friends were made that day between Mr. Lane and John Jr. Mr. Lane gave him his card and told him, "Now you are my hopscotch checker; if the game is ever covered, you come and let me know and I will fix it." Now when Mrs. Murray and John Jr. visit the commissary they make sure to let Mr. Lane know that "the hopscotch in the apples is okay." 


During 2009 DeCA and HHS signed a proclamation recognizing that eating healthy and being active are two things Americans can do to improve their health and are keys to a healthy lifestyle. In support of the proclamation DeCA is coordinating in-store displays and promotions in commissaries.  The hopscotch game display is an environmental intervention designed to encourage children and families to be active along with making healthy choices while shopping in the commissary. DeCA is currently looking at the use of displays to determine how they are impacting choices in commissaries while the hop scotch game display is being enjoyed by children of all ages in commissaries.


What kind of environmental interventions have worked for your organization?


Tags: , ,

Environmental Interventions


12/9/2009 4:37:31 PM #

Great idea. It is amazing what a little fun can accomplish. It's like the group Fun Theory that turned a staircase into a piano. When people jumped or walked on the stairs it made the sound of a piano key. It created such a buzz that 60%plus more people took the stairs versus the escalator. You can check the Fun Theory program out at (Link Removed)

Colin MIlner Canada |

12/10/2009 12:30:18 PM #

I like the Fun Theory concept you shared. What a great way to engage people in a community setting. Are these programs being used in the U.S.?

Karen United States |

12/10/2009 8:54:00 AM #

Glad to see fun things for kids to do that has a learning aspect regarding good food choices to it as well.

John Phelps United States |

12/10/2009 12:26:42 PM #

Making good food choices and physical activity while making it fun, go together as you mention here. Any ideas you might like to share on how to further expand this concept?

Karen United States |

12/10/2009 1:34:11 PM #

Cute and smart boy!

ingrid.dow1 United States |

12/15/2009 1:53:50 PM #

I think that "Hopscotch in the Apples" is an excellent example of the "fun theory"...and although anecdotal in nature, I do believe that more opportunities such as the piano staircase and hopscotch in the apples could begin to help increase physical activity.  It sounds so simple however the key to getting people to engage in increasing their activity often lies with starting small....

Sheila Franklin United States |

1/18/2010 1:51:52 AM #

It is amazing.This was implemented to help demonstrate the link between physical activity and making healthy choices when shopping for food.

Phenocal United States |

5/27/2011 7:07:06 AM #

What kind of environmental interventions have worked for your organization? Engaging students in a nutrition week program were they could sell nothing but fruits and vegetables within their own "kiddie" market place inside the school. This involves physical activity and also helps them appreciate the MORE healthy foods! 2-4 hours a day for 5 days will be a whole new fun-filled experience for them!

(Link Removed)

Piano Hinges United States |

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