State program seeks to create foundation for physical activity in young children
MADISON – Promoting physical activity to help prevent childhood obesity is the goal of a new grant awarded recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Department of Health Services (DHS). The funding targets two to five-year-olds in 20 regulated child care sites around the state.
The grant will fund a program called “Active Early: Promoting Physical Activity in Early Care and Education” that provides low or no-cost strategies and resources to promote at least 120 minutes of physical activity daily.
More than 30 percent of Wisconsin ’s low-income two to four-year-olds are overweight or obese. Early childhood obesity dramatically increases a child’s chances of becoming an obese adult and increases risk for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers warn that if childhood obesity continues to rise, children today are likely to live shorter lives than their parents.
“We know that focusing on nutrition and physical activity in kids before age five promotes life-long healthy habits,” said Karen Timberlake, Department of Health Services Secretary. “With children spending, on average, more than 30 hours per week in child care centers, these providers are well placed to help get kids moving and enjoying physical activity.”
DHS will partner with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Supporting Families Together Association and regional child care resource and referral agencies to support the Active Early sites. The agencies will teach hands-on strategies to help the child care centers easily incorporate physical activity into their daily activities. Grants for equipment and other resources ranged from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the size of the child care centers.
For more information on the Active Early initiative go to: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/physicalactivity/index.htm