Early care and education (ECE) settings present a window of opportunity to inspire young children to develop lifelong healthy habits. In Wisconsin, 31% of low-income children ages 2-4 years are overweight or obese. A poor diet and lack of physical activity are the most important factors contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obese children. We want our young children to develop healthy habits and we know that these habits begin at home and in the ECE setting. On average, children spend 34 hours per week or 2/3 of their waking hours in regulated care. Children and parents/caregivers are relying on you, the ECE professional, to provide child care environments that encourage healthy attitudes about food, nutrition and daily movement. They look to you to offer opportunities for a significant portion of their children's daily physical activity, nutrition intake and nutrition education.
ECE professionals and parents can make a difference to keep our children healthy!