The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), the Department of Education (RIDE), and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) are encouraging child care centers and homes to sign up with Let's Move! Child Care, a program to promote children's health by supporting healthier practices for children in child care. Let's Move! Child Care focuses on five key areas: increasing physical activity, reducing screen time, improving food choices, providing healthy beverages, and supporting infant feeding. All five areas align with HEALTH's Initiative for a Healthy Weight program goals and its priority to support healthy early childhood development in early care and educational settings.
Since First Lady Michelle Obama's announcement of Let's Move! Child Care in June 2011, 10 percent of Rhode Island child care centers or homes have registered as participants. Rhode Island has the opportunity to be recognized if it receives the highest percentage of licensed or legally operating child care programs to sign up as Let's Move! Child Care participants.
"With more than 30 percent of Rhode Island children entering kindergarten overweight or obese, the child care centers and homes are an essential setting for promoting healthy eating and physical activity," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. "We encourage child care providers to sign up and help us in our effort to prevent childhood obesity."
"We want all of our students be well rested, to eat nutritious and balanced meals, and to stay healthy and fit," said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "Children who develop habits of good health in their early years will come to school ready to learn, and they will be likely to maintain healthy practices throughout their lives."
"DCYF is excited about the Let's Move! Child Care initiative," said Director of DYCF Dr. Janice DeFrances. "In support of the initiative, we are working with RIDE, the Department of Human Services, and HEALTH as well as the National Organization of Regulatory Administrators (NARA) to update our child care regulations to incorporate the standards established by Let's Move! Child Care. We will be addressing areas such as nutrition, physical activity, and programming in order to address health concerns for children in licensed child care settings."
At the conclusion of the challenge on April 1, winning states will receive national recognition, including an award presentation during the 2012 Weight of the Nation conference (www.weightofhtenation.org) hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about Let's Move! Child Care or to have your site participate, visit www.healthykidshealthyfuture.org
To learn more information on childhood obesity in Rhode Island, visit www.health.ri.gov/healthyweight/for/childcareproviders/ or call the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.