What children learn today – from their families, teachers, and peers – will determine how they behave as members of their future communities. It is our responsibility as adults to take advantage of opportunities that will shape the future of Kentucky.
It’s no secret that childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in Kentucky. In fact, half of obese children were already overweight in preschool, suggesting efforts to prevent obesity should begin long before a child enters school. By the time children enter kindergarten we have already missed the best opportunity for prevention.
There are over 280,000 children age 5 and younger in Kentucky, many of which spend 35 hours per week on average in early care and education settings. With 2,815 licensed child care centers, licensed child care homes, and certified homes, the opportunity exists for these Kentucky centers to help reverse the growing childhood obesity epidemic.
Kentucky can create healthy learning environments consistent with Let’s Move! Child Care and Caring for Our Children by embedding best practices for obesity prevention in the very framework of child care centers. If we incorporate 5-2-1-0 Healthy Numbers for Kentucky Families into the daily routines of children, we are teaching them that healthy habits now, matter forever.
“All parents deserve the peace of mind that when their children are away from home, they are in the care of an organization that guarantees a healthy learning environment. These early care facilities offer a spectrum of opportunities where we can make certain children receive healthy foods and beverages, screen time limits, physical activity and breastfeeding support.”
Elaine Russell, Kentucky Department for Public Health Obesity Prevention Program Coordinator
The Partnership for a Fit Kentucky believes that what happens to children now affects the society we are creating for our future. We have committed to promoting policies consistent with best practices that specifically address healthy eating and physical activity in early care and education settings – because we all have a stake in making sure children get the care and education they need. We challenge early child care providers, educational professionals, parents, and advocates to join us in providing our youngest citizens with a healthy foundation essential for a stronger Kentucky.