Is your childcare provider TOP Star endorsed? The Teaching Obesity Prevention in Early Child Care or TOP Star program was developed by the Utah Department of Health to help child care facilities (daycare centers and in-homes childcare) and preschools improve their current nutrition, breastfeeding, and physical activity environments and policies.
TOP Star endorsed childcare facilities:
· -Meet the physical activity recommendations made by the leading national authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics,the American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in the Child Care and Early Education setting. These recommendations include having 15 minutes of physical activity for every two hours a child is in care. TOP Star endorsed facilities learn about fun activities that engage the kids and keep them having fun while moving.
· -Provide high quality snacks and meals, frequent servings and exposures to healthy foods, and an educational environment where children can learn about healthy eating. The CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program)and Early Head Start/Head Start facilities already meet many of these recommendations.
· -Offer and welcome breastfeeding support to mothers and their infants. That could mean a comfortable place for breastfeeding and support for a mother’s feeding plans so that she can successfully continue to breastfeed even when separated from her baby.
-If we can provide young children with healthy nutrition,opportunities for physical activity, and support breastfeeding mothers, we can change the future health of generations to come. Children will be less likely to suffer future health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Helping children form healthy habits early on – before they reach school age – will be significantly more effective.
We have heard from providers that have become TOP Star endorsed that with just a few changes, their children were happier and healthier under their care. They even asked for veggies or to play those fun games again. Staff reported the children were more engaged in learning and had less behavioral issues. After all, kids are designed to move, as we are all,and do so much better when fueled well.
If you’re a parent, ask if your childcare facility is TOP Star endorsed. If not, ask them why not!
For more information, please visit http://choosehealth.utah.gov/prek-12/childcare/top-star-program.php.