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What were the results of Phase 1 (first three years)?

In the first three years, child care centers across North Carolina almost doubled the number of healthy best practices adopted, increasing the percent of best practices met from 40 percent to 74 percent. Significant improvements occurred in increasing active play, limiting screen time, offering of healthy food and beverages, and including outdoor play.

These center accomplishments include:

  • Children’s Weight: Over the course of each school year, trends showed the percent of children who reach a healthy weight is gradually improving.
  • Active Play: The percent of children being provided with 90 minutes or more of physical activity daily rose from 51 percent to 85 percent.
  • Fruit: The percent of children being provided with fruit two or more times per day rose from 34 percent to 80 percent.
  • Vegetables: The percent of children being provided with vegetables two or more times per day rose from 32 percent to 60 percent.
  • Beans and Lean Meats: The percent of children being provided with beans or lean meats one or more times per day rose from 9 percent to 40 percent.
  • Outdoor Learning: 19 child care centers made improvements to outdoor learning environments including additions such as bike paths and vegetable gardens.
  • Center Staff: 74 staff members at child care centers improved at least one of their own health behaviors, including more fruit and vegetable consumption, more physical activity and less sweetened beverages.

What is in store for Phase 2?

The BCBSNC Foundation supported the continuation of this collaboration with NCPC for an additional three years. The next phase of the project will focus on bringing the Shape NC model to scale. Major goals for 2016 include:

  • At least 12 Shape Model Early Learning Centers (MELCs) will become Demonstration Sites for promoting healthy weight and will serve as models within their communities.
  • At least 240 new centers will implement nutrition, physical activity and/or outdoor learning environment best practices.
  • At least 2,000 child care providers across the state will participate in online professional development for early childhood obesity prevention and Shape NC implementation strategies.
  • The number/percent of children at healthy weight in the 18 Model Early Learning Centers will increase over time.

After the first year, Shape NC has already engaged 130 centers reaching over 7,000 children. In addition, six MELCs have become Demonstration sites.

Why is it important?

At a time when the nation is facing rising health care costs and high obesity rates, Shape NC is taking a preventive approach to proactively address the issue, focusing on the state’s youngest children.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 8 preschoolers is obese in the US.
  • In North Carolina, roughly three out of every 10 young low-income children ages 2 to 4 years are either overweight or obese.
  • Children who are obese by age 6 or overweight by age 12 have greater than a 50 percent likelihood of becoming obese adults. According to a report by the Trust for America’s Health, almost a third of adult North Carolinians are obese.
  • Approximately 38 percent of North Carolina’s children are enrolled in almost 5000 regulated childcare centers, where they receive most meals and spend most of their waking hours.

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