Building Healthy Behaviors in Preschoolers

Health professionals predict that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of young children in the U.S. may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. The prevalence and severity of obesity is associated with the rise in chronic diseases in young children, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These conditions were once rarely seen in children and considered adult conditions. Nearly 15% of Wisconsin 2-4 year olds are considered obese (State of Obesity, 2014.)

Go NAP SACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) is an online tool to help early care and education programs improve their nutrition and physical activity practices. The tool includes 7 focus areas: child nutrition, breastfeeding/infant feeding, farm to early child care, oral health, physical activity, play and learning, and screen time.

Amanda Miller (FoodWIse Coordinator and Health & Wellbeing Educator) is now a certified Technical Assistant with the Go NAP SACC program. A Technical Assistant is a ‘train the trainer’ model that provides skills to train child care staff.

FoodWIse not only wants to reach early child care teachers and staff with information on healthy eating and physical activity, but the children and parents. FoodWIse provides nutrition education in the Head Start classrooms to students using the Color Me Healthy curriculum. It is developed for children aged 4-5 with fun, interactive learning opportunities. It is designed to stimulate the senses: touch, smell, sight, sound and taste of new foods and uses color and music to teach about healthy foods. In addition, FoodWIse teaches Head Start parents about healthy eating, picky eaters, and food budgeting.

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