Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF)–with a little help from 50 wiggly preschoolers–today launched a childhood obesity prevention initiative in Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park child care settings in hopes of growing a healthier generation.
The expansion of this one-of-a-kind initiative into 14 child care centers in Winter Park, Eatonville and Maitland, was made possible by a $50,000 grant from WPHF.
“Nemours is honored to have the support of the Winter Park Health Foundation in this effort to combat childhood obesity”, said Roger Oxendale, CEO of Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Nemours has a history of working beyond the walls of our clinics and hospital to improve the health of children and with this investment; we will be able to conduct more of that important work.”
Nemours associates will train child care providers on two programs: Nemours Healthy Habits for Life and the Nemours prescription for a healthy lifestyle: 5-2-1-Almost None. Healthy Habits helps children learn about ‘sometimes’ and ‘anytime’ food, eating the colors of the rainbow and incorporating movement in play. 5-2-1-Almost None focuses on getting kids moving, reducing screen time, making nutrition fun and limiting sugary beverages.
Training is scheduled to begin in January.
Developed by Nemours and Sesame Workshop, Healthy Habits for Life is a resource kit to assist child care providers with the education and tools they need to promote healthy eating and active living in the child care setting that has proved to be successful in introducing the components of a healthy lifestyle to pre-school children.
“The best way to help children make healthy choices in later life is to practice them early,” said Dr. Lloyd Werk, Nemours, Director of Florida Prevention Initiative
Other child care centers in Central Florida already have received training, and the hope is that it will spread to others and saturate the area. “Our goal is to help grow a healthier generation,” said Dr. Werk.
The initiative is a natural extension of the ongoing work of the WPHF which has offered free school-based health and wellness services in 12 public schools in Winter Park, Eatonville and Maitland for more than a decade. The participating child care centers channel students into these same schools.
“The programs we have offered are designed to help students become as healthy and academically productive as possible and are based on the belief that Healthy Kids make Better Students, and Better Students Make Healthy Communities,” said Patricia Maddox, WPHF President and CEO.
Nemours’ programs complement all we are doing in elementary, middle and high school, she added. “You’re never too young to learn the benefits of active living and healthy eating, and we hope these youngsters will carry these lessons through life.”