FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Prevention Services Division
Health department implements higher standards to improve nutrition in child care centers
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working with more than 500 child care centers throughout Colorado to improve nutrition and physical activity for thousands of Colorado children.
“We know obese children often turn into obese adults,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, department executive director and chief medical officer. “If we can help child care providers offer nutritious meals to our youngest Coloradans, we can help stop obesity before it starts.”
In Colorado, 8.4 percent of children ages 2-4 are obese. The department’s Child and Adult Care Food Program works with child care centers statewide to promote the positive mealtime environment, good nutrition and active play young children need to grow up healthy.
Child care providers who participate in the program follow USDA guidelines that include low-fat milk, fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein. These guidelines allow children to enjoy a wide variety of food, meet basic nutrition requirements, and lower their consumption of sodium and saturated and trans fats. With its Healthier Meals Initiative, the Child and Adult Care Food Program implemented higher standards than required, including:
· Provide at least one serving of whole grains a day.
· Limit processed and pre-fried meats to once a week.
· Limit fruit juice to two servings a week.
To help meet these standards, participating child care centers received toolkits that include child-friendly recipes developed by a professional chef, nutritious menus and meal suggestions, and an interactive curriculum designed to teach children about the importance of eating nutritious foods.
The department also is offering “I Am Moving, I Am Learning” training for child care providers. This obesity prevention program is intended to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity, improve the quality of movement activities, and promote healthy food choices every day.
About the Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides funding for nutritious food to participating child care centers, adult day care centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, after-school programs and family day care homes. The program reimburses providers for serving healthy meals and snacks, based on the income of the participants’ families. Foster children, Head Start participants and children whose families participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations are eligible to receive free meals while attending a participating program. Adult day care participants who are beneficiaries of the above federal programs, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid also are eligible to receive free meals while attending a participating program. For current eligibility rates, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care/ProgramBasics/Payments/Table.pdf. For more information, contact the Child and Adult Care food Program at 303-692-2330.