Childhood obesity affects nearly one-third of American children.

While historically, many parents and adults did not worry about heavier weights on children — and some, in fact, claiming that it was a sign of good health — research has shown that it is in fact very unhealthy and downright dangerous. Childhood obesity sets a person up for a lifetime of struggles with weight, which directly impacts the medical health and overall quality of life. The daycare center you choose to help raise your children have a significant impact on preventing childhood obesity. Join us in today’s post as we discuss how your child care matters to your child’s nutrition.

Quality of meals and snacks offered.

If you are a typical working parent, your children will spend the majority of their waking hours with a child care provider. Waking hours also means eating hours. Growing children require a meal or snacks every two to three hours. This means that your daycare provider will be feeding your child a lot. Regardless of whether you send meals and snacks along with your child or the daycare provides the food, feeding your children healthy meals and snacks are important. If your daycare relies on surgery juice and canned fruit, your child is not only missing out on important nutrients and consuming a lot of unnecessary sugar, which is detrimental to their overall health and is a major contributing factor to childhood obesity.

Promotion of healthy eating practices.

Healthy eating practices go beyond just the foods consumed and include healthy eating settings that include hand washing, using utensils, and eating a well-rounded diet. Child care providers that rely on forcing children to eat big meals to reduce the number of feeding times are contributing to poor eating habits and can negatively influence the growth and development of your child as well as encourage childhood obesity. Food is fuel and busy children need to be recharged regularly. Additionally, a person’s stomach is only the size of their fist, so expecting a child to eat “full meals” is not realistic. Assess the menu as well as the eating practices that are encouraged at your daycare facility.

Encouraging physical activity.

Many daycare centers encourage physical activity because it is what children crave, and, let’s be honest, because a tired child is a well-behaved child! Be wary of any child care provider that uses television to keep a child’s attention or expects children to participate in mainly sedentary activities. Children who are taught to remain sedentary at an early age tend to be lazier and are less willing to participate in physical activity as adults. Physical activity, even that of normal play, helps your child developmentally, physically, and emotionally as well as improves motor skills, logic, and thought processing. Moving children are also at a decreased risk for childhood obesity and chronic diseases including diabetes. Make sure your child’s daycare keeps your kid moving!

Teaching nutrition basics.

You can give a child nutritious food and they will eat healthy for a meal, but if you teach a child about their nutrition, they will eat healthy for a lifetime! Teaching nutrition basics in an age-appropriate will help set the child up for a healthy life. Young children find plates or placemats with the food groups drawn on it helpful, whereas older school-aged children can be taught about the benefits and dangers of different foods and components.

Because your child care provider spends more time and meals with your child than you will, it is important that they are instilling healthy lessons and behaviors in your child. At home, you can reinforce these things with healthy dinners, drinks, and snacks as well as weekend meals. But, as with anything, children learn best by example. To prevent childhood obesity, you and your child care provider should be setting healthy examples for the children in your lives. If your daycare is not promoting healthy habits, it may be time to find a new one! At Darleen’s Wee Care 4 Kids, the health and safety of the children in our care is our primary concern. We make every effort to keep your children engaged in physical activity and nourish them with healthy meals and snacks. For more information or to enroll your children, contact us today!