Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Role of Policies and Practices within Early Care and Education Programs to Support Healthy Food and Physical Activity Practices

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Role of Policies and Practices within Early Care and Education Programs to Support Healthy Food and Physical Activity Practices

Article excerpt

Address correspondence to: Dianne Ward, MS, EdD, Professor, Department of Nutrition Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, dsward@email.unc.edu

Obesity rates among young children continue to rise in spite of earlier indications of slowing trends.1 Healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity, are important to obesity prevention, and are associated with better developmental outcomes and disease prevention in young children.2,3 During the early years, children need to be exposed to environments that support the development of health-promoting nutrition and physical activity behaviors. Other than one's family, early care, and education (ECE) programs are the most influential setting in the support of children's heathy weight development and represent an important "target of opportunity" for health promotion efforts.4 More than 60% of young children are enrolled in an out-of-home care setting, spend more than 30 hours there each week, and obtain between 50%-75% of daily calories in these settings. …

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