This afternoon, the Administration for Children and Families held a conference call to discuss the details of “Let’s Move Child Care,” a new effort to reduce obesity and associated risks for chronic diseases by supporting healthy nutrition and fitness in child care settings. With more than 20% of children aged 2-5 experiencing obesity, child care providers are a logical point of engagement for helping children to establish lifelong healthy habits. This collaboration across federal agencies, states, territories, tribes, and private providers is as a from-the-ground-up initiative to impart the fundamentals of nutrition and fitness through the foundational structure caring for the youngest children. The call was an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about ways to support and share in this partnership.
Shannon Rudisill, Director of the Office of Child Care, gave an overview of the various ways to join the campaign, mainly through the website, www.healthykidshealthyfutures.org. Such activities, tools, and resources should further the five goals of, 1. increasing physical activity, 2. reducing screen time, 3. promoting healthy food choices, 4. promoting nutritious beverages and increasing water intake, and 5. supporting breast-feeding. The campaign encourages that its principles and resources be integrated into existing efforts on improving child health.
Leading by example, federal agencies like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Defense have joined the early stages of the effort along with private organizations like the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and Bright Horizons. Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Director of the Office of Head Start, was on the call to talk about how the campaign aligns with Head Start initiatives like “I am Moving, I am Learning” and “Head Start, Body Smart.” Then, Meredith Reynolds of the CDC described many of their related initiatives that can well support the campaign, including grants, trainings, and monthly calls for providers. The conference call concluded with an opportunity for participants to ask questions and share additional initiatives and local programs that can join the campaign’s effort.