Michelle Obama is encouraging day care facilities and home-based providers to commit to the Let’s Move! Child Care Check List to encourage healthy eating and physical activity and limit screen time for young children. The check list includes:
Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
Screen Time: No screen time for children under 2 years. For children age 2 and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time per day, the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style when possible, and no fried foods.
Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4-6 ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
Infant feeding: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day; and support all new parents in their decisions about infant feeding.
“Everyone is going to see that these small changes can make a big difference. If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if they’re not glued to a TV screen all day, they’re on their way to healthy habits for life,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s why I’m so excited about Let’s Move! Child Care – because I know that childcare facilities and home-based providers can be a real building block for an entire generation of healthy kids.”
It's estimated that the new guidelines will impact 280,000 children around the country.
Obesity rates among preschoolers ages 2 to 5 have doubled in the past four decades, and one in five children are overweight or obese by the time they reach their 6th birthday. Over half of obese children first become overweight at or before age 2.
As the Childhood Obesity Task Force noted, child care centers and informal care represent a tremendous opportunity to prevent obesity, because 60 percent of children under 5 are in some form of child care, spending an average of 29 hours per week in that care.
To best support providers who choose to meet these practices, the Nemours Foundation is leading an effort to provide free, comprehensive resources and tools in a newly developed website, and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies is committed to providing technical assistance to providers. Providers and parents can go to www.HealthyKidsHealthyFuture.org for these free tools and resources and to share success stories.
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