The internet and the airways are filled with information promoting various ways to be healthy. Sometimes it seems like the advice we hear changes every day. You can count on knowing that all information on this site reflects the guidance of government experts, plus health and education professionals for encouraging children to eat healthy food and be active. All material has been reviewed by Registered Dieticians affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s Department of Nutrition.
More than one-third of Americans are obese. Obesity in adults contributes to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some kinds of cancer. Once a person is overweight, it is very difficult to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits in childhood may be the best chance we have to address our nation’s health in the long run. Many efforts are underway across the country to improve nutrition and physical activity for school age children. Relatively little attention has been paid, however, to efforts that can be taken with younger children. Early care and learning settings provide an especially important opportunity to help children develop healthy eating and activity habits.
Pick a child care center that has earned the “Ohio Healthy Program” designation. This means that teachers and administrators have been trained to support healthy eating and physical activity, and that the center has adopted some policies to support these objectives. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s growth. Review and keep track on a growth chart. Search the website for community resources such as places that give extra SNAP benefits for purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables
Participate in the Ohio Healthy Program training offered through the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association. This training is approved for Step up to Quality credit. Develop policies for your center that indicate what foods can and cannot be brought from home, and what foods will be served to children. Enlist parents to support these efforts by establishing a wellness committee to help create policies, to participate in healthy food tasting sessions, and to serve healthy foods at home. Create a challenge for families to engage in daily physical activity.