NACCRRA Releases Promoting Healthy Practices in Child Care Centers

September 21, 2011
Report

Survey findings demonstrate the important role of child care centers in
national childhood obesity prevention efforts

Arlington, VA – The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) today released a new report, Promoting Healthy Practices in Child Care Centers. The report highlights the role of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) in promoting healthy practices in child care and includes information on trends and needs within communities based on CCR&R work with child care providers. Based on a survey of local CCR&Rs, the report focuses on the core goals of the Administration’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative: increase physical activity, limit screen time, serve healthy foods, reduce sugary beverages and support parents’ choices about infant feeding.

NACCRRA surveyed CCR&Rs in 113 communities in 29 states about the most common health promotion practices in local child care centers, training needs of child care providers and the funding outlook for health-related programs.

 “Child Care Resource and Referral agencies play a unique role in reaching the nation’s providers and helping to achieve our goal of reducing the childhood obesity epidemic, “said Linda K. Smith, NACCRRA Executive Director. “With more than 11 million children under age 5 in child care each week, it is critical that child care providers have the tools and resources they need to help put children on the right path to a healthy future during their earliest years of development,” said Smith.

The CCR&Rs surveyed reported that they offer a wide range of health-related training for local child care providers, including nutrition and physical activity strategies supported by the Let’s Move! Child Care initiative. However, they also point out some challenges and barriers for communities seeking to increase healthy behaviors in child care settings. Many CCR&Rs reported that there is no financial support for local health-related trainings for child care providers or they anticipate a decrease in funding for health and nutrition programs.

Overall, the survey findings highlight the need to devote more attention and resources to professional development in promoting healthy practices among early childhood workers.

NACCRRA recommends the following actions to further the work of Let’s Move! Child Care:

  1. Increase awareness among parents of the importance of the first five years in developing healthy habits to last a lifetime.
  2. Increase awareness among child care providers of the critical role they play in promoting healthy habits among children participating in their programs and among parents utilizing their programs.
  3. Find ways to increase awareness in every community for parents and providers to not only eat nutritious meals and snacks, but also to reduce screen time and increase physical activity.
  4. Increase funding for health-related professional development efforts among early childhood professionals. CCR&Rs reported that there is inadequate financial support for child care providers seeking health-related training, and that they foresee a decrease in funding for these efforts.
  5. HHS and its partners can capitalize on the key role that CCR&Rs already play as major providers of training and technical assistance to child care providers. Efforts should strengthen and support the current trainings offered by CCR&Rs in health promotion, with an increased focus on including promotion of breastfeeding among the five prevention strategies emphasized by the Let’s Move! Child Care initiative.
  6. Partners can further the Let’s Move! Child Care initiative by developing training and technical assistance resources that meet the needs of child care providers, especially in alternate modes of delivery, such as webinars, conference calls and on-site trainings and visits.
  7. HHS can work with national organizations such as NACCRRA, the Nemours Foundation, state and local CCR&Rs and others to increase outreach and marketing efforts to CCR&Rs and others in local communities to broaden familiarity with national programs and resources such as Let’s Move! Child Care.
  8. Encourage partnerships with medical professionals, child care providers, public agencies and national entities to address vital health-related issues in early childhood.

To read and download Promoting Healthy Practices in Child Care Centers, click here.

###

NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable childcare. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about NACCRRA and how you can join us in ensuring access to high-quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.