Child care centers receive new health standards — and Erikson training

In Chicago, 22 percent of children are obese upon entering school—that’s twice the national average. Erikson is taking part in an initiative to help decrease this number by encouraging child care centers to increase physical activity, reduce screen time for children in their programs, and improve the nutritional quality of food they serve.

Image: Tracy Moran, Erikson Assistant Professor

It started this year when the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Board of Health created new health and nutrition standards for young children in center-based child care.
Download the guidelines » [PDF, 3pg]

Seeing “an opportunity to improve the lives of a tremendous number of children,” Erikson assistant professor Tracy Moran developed a training curriculum to prepare staff from Illinois Action for Children to help both center- and home-based child care providers meet these new standards. Nearly 57,000 children at participating home- or center-based child care providers may benefit from these trainings.

“By establishing good habits of healthy eating and physical fitness at an early age, we can set these children on a path toward a better quality of life in later childhood and potentially into adulthood,” said Moran.

Illinois Action for Children president Maria Whelan commented on the far-reaching effects of the project, saying, “We are proud to be part of an initiative that is creating a continuum of healthy eating and physical activity from child care providers to families to entire communities.”

The project is a collaborative effort, with The Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Foundation providing funding, and the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children consulting Moran as she developed the training curriculum.

Read more about this project in Chicago News Cooperative.