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Just released: A statement from 10 national organizations working to improve the health of young children.
Several organizations came together to support a joint statement for early care and education policy change. If you or your organization is interested in working on better nutrition and physical activity in child care and preschool settings, be sure to check out our toolkit on the Building Blocks for a Healthy Life. Here’s the full statement of support:
For many young children, their first time down a slide or their first time trying new vegetables are in preschool or child care settings. Young children thrive, grow and begin to develop a lifetime of habits in these early years—that is why it is so important we reach kids in early care and education settings. Several states have made significant strides in ensuring all young children have the building blocks they need—nutritious foods and plenty of active play—for a healthy life. Recent research shows 31 states are seeing modest declines in childhood obesity rates among 2 to 4 year olds of low-income families, enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from 2010 to 2014.
These declines are a sign that the collaboration, innovation and time and money invested with families in preschool and child care settings are starting to work. With more than 60 percent of children spending the majority of their day in out of home settings, both parents and providers are seeking the best standards for ensuring children have a healthy start in life. Currently, 25 states include a few high-impact obesity prevention standards in state's licensing regulations for childcare and early education programs, with Mississippi leading the way with 15 of 47 standards. Standards can also be built into Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). North Carolina has nutrition and active play standards in both regulations and QRIS, a model for other states, which provides a continuum of regulations and voluntary best practices that support child health. As states work to revise regulations and QRIS systems to meet these requirements, every state has an opportunity to give all children a better foundation for healthy hearts. We recommend three key strategies to accelerate progress and improve the health of the next generation.
Our organizations each play a role in advocating for improved state policy across our nation. We are committed to working towards equitable, quality early care and education environments for every child. We strongly believe that continuing to support standards and supports for nutrition, physical activity and screen time in early care and education will transform the health of the next generation.
As parents and providers seek to make early care and education a healthier place for children to learn letters and colors, we will support them in developing healthy hearts and brains.
After School Alliance
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
Berkeley Media Studies Group, a project of the Public Health Institute
Child Care Aware of America
Nemours Children’s Health System