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July 26, 2016

Steps Toward Early Childhood Health

Studies show that one in five children are overweight or obese by their sixth birthday, and over half of obese children become overweight at or before the age of two. To promote early childhood health, the Let’s Move! initiative offers the following tips.

Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children two years old and under should not be exposed to television, and children over age two should limit their exposure to 1-2 hours of quality programming each day. 

However, studies show that almost half of children under age two watch television daily and of those, half have a television in their room. Preschool children also watch more television than the AAP recommends. 

Other studies have shown links between television viewing and risk of preschool children being overweight. 

Choosing a Childcare Facility 

When choosing a child care facility for your children, consider the environment. 

Physical Activity. Children need opportunities to be physically active through play and other activities. Physical activity helps them to obtain and improve motor skills, coordination, balance and control, strength, dexterity and flexibility. Look for a child care center that has a comprehensive activity policy and equipment to play on. 

Healthy Eating. A recent review of state child care regulations found that states have an average of 3.7 healthy eating regulations for child care centers and 2.9 for family child care homes. Eating well is important not only for preventing the risk of obesity, it is also important for the healthy development of young children. Look for a child care facility that focuses on nutritional quality of the food they serve. 

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