Nutrition-wise blog

Fighting childhood obesity

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. June 15, 2011

In a previous blog I suggested a food and activity checklist to use when considering child-care providers. The idea must have caught on.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made fighting childhood obesity her mission and she's now extending it to our youngest citizens — infants and toddlers. The "Let's Move! Child Care" campaign calls on child-care providers to serve healthier foods and promote physical activity in their facilities.

As part of this effort, the First Lady released a checklist that providers and parents can use as a tool to encourage healthy eating and physical activity and limit screen time for young children. The checklist stresses five principles:

  • Physical activity: Provide one to two hours of physical activity throughout the day.
  • Screen time: No screen time for children under 2 years. Limit screen time for older children to no more than 30 minutes a week during child care.
  • Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style when possible, and don't serve fried foods.
  • Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don't serve sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Infant feeding: Support mothers who want to breastfeed, either by providing their milk to their infants or breastfeeding during the child-care day.

So far, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and Bright Horizons have committed to follow these practices — a step that will positively affect approximately 280,000 children nationwide. What about you? Are you putting these principles into practice? How are you fighting childhood obesity? Share your successes and inspire us.

To our children's health,

Katherine

Jun. 15, 2011