Child Care as an Untapped Setting for Obesity Prevention: State Child Care Licensing Regulations Related to Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Media Use for Preschool-Aged Children in the United States

Source: Karen M. Kaphingst, Mary Story, Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC), Vol. 6 no. 1, 2009

We demonstrated that state licensing regulations regarding nutrition, physical activity, and media use vary widely among and within states. Nearly three-quarters of US preschool-aged children spend time in nonparental care arrangements each week. State regulations and standards governing nutrition, physical activity, and media use are weak and need to be strengthened. Improvements in these policies could improve the diets and physical activity behaviors of millions of children and improve their health. The increasing prevalence and earlier onset of childhood obesity underscore the urgency of state policy efforts to create child care environments that foster healthy eating and physical activity.
Given the role of child care in the lives of American families, including child care settings in research and policy efforts directed at child health and obesity prevention is essential. State policy makers, health professionals, child care practitioners, and state licensing offices need to work together to develop nutrition, physical activity, and media use policies and regulations that will improve children’s health and help prevent obesity, without placing undue administrative or financial burden on child care facilities.

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