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Nemours, one of the nation’s top children’s health systems, is encouraged by the recent release of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on low-income preschoolers in Vital Signs: Progress in Childhood Obesity and the prospect that the epidemic may have reached a plateau.
Nemours has been actively engaged in promoting healthy eating, physical activity, breastfeeding and reductions in screen time for all children under 5. Changes in these areas have a proven impact on childhood obesity rates. Evidence-based research supports the need to provide healthy nutrition and physical activity environments for children at young ages.
In particular, Nemours focuses on reaching young children through the early care and education network where children spend many hours while parents work or attend school. An estimated 12 million children across the country spend time in ECE settings on a regular basis.
Nemours recently partnered with the CDC to implement National Early Care & Education Learning Collaboratives in six states (AZ, FL, IN, KS, MO, and NJ). This initiative aims to help providers make changes in nutrition, breastfeeding support, physical activity, and screen time policies and practices. This type of initiative is critical to ensuring that our nation’s youngest children continue to live, learn and play in environments that support their health.
“Reaching kids early is the key to combating childhood obesity,” said Debbie I. Chang, MPH, Vice President of Policy and Prevention. “Providing early care and education providers with the tools they need to help families develop healthy habits will go a long way toward ensuring the long term health and wellness of children.”