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Expert Taskforce Releases Recommendations for Obesity Prevention for State’s Youngest Children
Shape NC Highlighted as Key Part of Strategy to Create Healthier NC
RALEIGH, NC — A taskforce comprised of child care and health experts from foundations, government agencies, universities, health professional associations, and community groups released recommendations today to address the problem of rising obesity rates and health care costs by targeting the issue at its roots – the state’s youngest children birth to five.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) Task Force on Early Childhood Obesity Prevention (ECOP) recommended a strategy that works across fields and sectors. This cooperation ensures that similar messages, assessments and policies impact parents and children when and where they can be reached. From the pediatrician’s office to the child care center, this approach can ensure a healthier start to the state’s youngest residents.
“As a key partner in Shape NC, I am proud of the work The North Carolina Partnership for Children has done to increase knowledge of nutrition and the importance of physical activity among children, their families and teachers,” said Nancy Brown, Board Chair of NCPC. “These recommendations highlight how this work can be expanded to be part of a larger, systematic effort that can improve the health of children and our state.”
Shape NC, a partnership between the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation and NCPC, is a $3 million initiative that addresses childhood obesity by focusing on the child care setting and community.
The recommendations identified programs, including Shape NC, which taskforce members believe are both important and practical to support because of the progress already made in improving health and wellness in pilot child care centers. The report states, “There has already been considerable effort to implement evidence-based and evidence-informed physical activity and nutrition strategies in child care programs through existing programs like Shape NC, Nutrition and Physical Activity Self Assessment in Child Care, Preventing Obesity by Design, and Be Active Kids.”
The taskforce recommendations also include: improving the treatment and prevention of early childhood obesity in health care settings; integrating healthy activities into child care settings; utilizing community resources to reduce childhood obesity; and expanding the collection and reporting of physical activity and nutrition data. The NCIOM taskforce was convened at the request of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC Foundation) and was a collaborative effort between the BCBSNC Foundation, the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC), and the NCIOM. For additional information about the importance of obesity prevention and to read the full recommendations, please visit http://www.nciom.org/publications/?childhoodobesityprevention.
Smart Start, a network of nonprofit local partnerships led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC), creates innovative solutions to measurably increase learning and the healthy development of children birth to five. Smart Start gives local communities the freedom and responsibility to determine how to increase the health, well-being and development of their children based on the needs and resources of their local communities. NCPC establishes measurable statewide goals and communities determine the best approach to achieving them. For more information, visit www.smartstart.org.