245024 Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP): Childcare centers supporting increased physical activity for young children

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 11:06 AM

Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Maria Boyle, MS, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Mariah Lafleur, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Rajni Banthia, PhD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Michelle Haugen, MPH , Olmsted County Public Health, Rochester, MN
Childcare centers provide a unique setting for obesity prevention, as large numbers of preschool-age children are enrolled in licensed childcare, and it is an untapped setting for physical activity. One of the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) interventions in Olmsted County, Minnesota is to improve the implementation of policies and practices that support physical activity in licensed childcare settings. As part of the evaluation of this intervention, directors, teachers, and staff from 24 childcare centers in Olmsted County responded to an on-line self assessment survey on physical activity policies and practices.

Findings demonstrated that over 30% of respondents reported having limited knowledge about physical activity, and about 25% of respondents stated that they had inadequate play equipment or outdoor play space at their center. Less than 25% of the centers are approaching or exceeding the recommended 120 minutes of daily physical activity for their children. Although half of responding centers provide staff with training opportunities on physical activity, and 65% offer information or workshops for parents/families, the majority of these trainings were held very infrequently. Nearly all of the responding centers asked for assistance on providing these trainings, and centers without a physical activity policy asked for assistance in developing a policy. Based on the results of this evaluation, Olmsted County SHIP is working with childcare centers to improve and sustain physical activity opportunities for children through policy development and increased training opportunities.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain at least two of the major barriers to providing physical activity to young children in childcare settings. 2. Identify three ways to improve physical activity environments in childcare centers. 3. Describe key local or institutional policy strategies to improve physical activity for children in childcare centers.

Keywords: Child Care, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I evaluate physical activity improvement programs in communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.