Start early with five healthy goals.
You are in a unique role to help prevent childhood obesity. Children spend many hours in early care and education programs, as well as family child care. Help kids build good habits by ensuring your program is a healthy environment for children to learn.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Future encourages you to meet these goals:
- Nurture Healthy Eaters
- Provide Healthy Beverages
- Get Kids Moving
- Reduce Screen Time
- Support Breastfeeding
Learn more about the research behind these five healthy goals.
In recent years, obesity rates for preschool-aged children have declined slightly but still remain much too high. Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times more likely to become obese adults than normal weight children.
- Approximately 23 percent of children aged two to five years are overweight or obese.
- Obesity rates for young children doubled in about a 20 year period of time (1980s – 2000s).
- One out of eight low-income, preschool-aged children is obese.
- Some children are at higher risk for obesity: American Indian and Alaska Native (20.7%) and Hispanic (17.9%) children aged two to four years have the highest rates of obesity.
Children who are overweight or obese can be undernourished at the same time if the foods and beverages they consume are not very nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals. Nutrition deficiencies impair brain development and cognitive functioning, including learning. Energy needed for optimal child growth and development is impacted by diet.
Obesity increases the likelihood of certain diseases and health problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- High blood cholesterol
- Gynecological problems
- Liver and gallbladder disease
Obese children also face more social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.
Children who are not physically active, regardless of their weight status, have more behavioral and disciplinary problems, shorter attention spans in class and do not perform as well in school compared to active children.
For Family Child Care:
The Creative Curriculum®
The Creative Curriculum® for Family Child Care addresses the unique strengths and challenges of family child care. Plan developmentally appropriate activities, promote children’s development, and build partnerships with families.
5 Simple Steps for Success
Print out 5 Simple Steps for Success, a resource for parents about five easy ways to create a healthy environment at home. Any combination of steps can add up to make a real difference in children’s lives.