Good news! According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in our youngest Kentuckians are actually declining. In fact, Kentucky witnessed the largest decrease of all states (nearly five percent) and is now sitting below the national prevalence rate for children ages 2 to 4 years old participating in Kentucky WIC (Women, Infants and Children).
Let’s continue the momentum by championing efforts that focus on establishing healthy habits before children enter kindergarten. Our early care and education (ECE) facilities provide a pivotal opportunity for prevention.
One way we support ECE professionals is to provide training on ways they can make their classrooms healthier places for all children. Low-cost online training modules are available for ECE professionals through the University of Kentucky’s Online Learning Center. Participants receive two ECE clock hours for each module completed.
The Healthy Lifestyle Online Training Series covers topics ranging from nurturing healthy eaters, increasing physical activity in ECEs, sharing health messages with families, and emphasizing small steps taken over time can have a significant impact. Consider:
- Removing juice from program menus
- Providing water throughout the day
- Changing snack menus to include a fruit or vegetable daily
- Limiting pre-fried and fatty foods such as chicken nuggets, fish sticks and French fries
These policies and other small changes to how programs operate can help us make sure our children are developing healthy habits while they are away from home.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. Learn how you can support healthy places for our children by visiting the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky.