Healthy Early Learning Settings
March 15, 2013 – Olympia, WA
Today, we had a tremendous opportunity to present with colleagues from the University of Washington, Public Health – Seattle & King County and South Sound YMCA to the Early Learning and Human Services Committee at our state capitol in Olympia. The topic of discussion? An imperative to apply obesity prevention strategies and overall healthy approaches in early learning settings.
Over the past 40 years, obesity rates among children ages 6 to 11 have more than quadrupled, while rates among preschool children (ages 2 to 5) have nearly quintupled.
Ensuring that children engage in the recommended amounts of physical activity, including outdoor play; spend limited time using electronic media; and are provided nutritious meals and snacks will help to prevent children from becoming overweight or obese.
There are several strategies to establishing healthy learning settings that can be implemented on the local, state and federal levels (see this outline from the University of Washington), but for the purposes of our audience – convened by Representative Jessyn Farrell – our panel focused on what can be accomplished in Washington state.