American Heart Association Collaborates to Create Healthier Environments for Children in Early Child Care

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  By American Heart Association
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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Several child care and children’s organizations in California have collaborated with the American Heart Association (AHA) and joined the fight to create healthier environments for children by supporting funding allocation for programs that follow well researched healthy early care standards.

Currently, there is no state funding allocated for child care providers who wish to implement healthy early care standards. Thirty-three percent of providers stated they did not have enough money to make the healthy changes they wished to incorporate in their site.

AHA wants California to establish funding for dedicated technical assistance and grant opportunities for child care providers in low-income communities to implement healthy activities such as healthy eating, physical activity, and screen time limitations in their center or home.

“Early childhood programs can establish healthy habits for preschoolers like less screen time and more physical activities, which in turn will improve health outcomes,” stressed Jessica Sims, MD, Board Member, American Heart Association Los Angeles and Regional Medical Director, AltaMed Health Services. “Child care providers want to provide healthy environments for children, and they must be supported with resources. This is the opportunity,” Sims added.

With 433,000 California children spending a large part of their day in early care and education programs, such as Head Start, child care, Early Head Start or pre-kindergarten, many child care providers know the importance of caring for children properly and creating and reinforcing healthy habits.

Providers and parents want standards that will help all children grow up at a healthy weight. They want kids to:

  • Have access to healthy meals and snacks full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains;
  • Be served more water or milk instead of sugary drinks like fruit drinks, sports drinks, soda, and sweetened waters;
  • Be physically active; and
  • Limit time spent watching TV or in front of a computer or tablet. 

Quality early care education can help shrink the achievement gap, improve health outcomes, and increase lifetime earnings. To learn more, go to http://www.heart.org/HealthyECE.

About American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.