Online Program

Lessons from the sandbox: Collaborating to create healthy childcare environments

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dawn Littlefield, BS, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Division of Population Health, Augusta, ME
Patricia Hart, MS, Hart Consulting Inc., Gardiner, ME
Victoria Rogers, MD, Let's Go! Program, The Barbara Bush Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME
Andrew Finch, MSW, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Division of Population Health, Augusta, ME
Patrick Madden, MBA, Market Decisions, Portland, ME
Introduction: Alarmingly, in 2011 more than 38% of Maine's kindergarten students were overweight or obese. Studies have shown that by changing obesogenic environments and promoting physical activity and nutrition, obesity can be affected. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with other state agencies, and Let's Go!, a multi-setting childhood obesity program, to implement a state-local, public-private partnership to promote supports for increased physical activity and nutrition in Maine's licensed childcare programs. Methods: The initiative, supported by a U.S. CDC grant in 2012, uses a structured, evidence-based process to help childcare providers identify and implement changes in environments, programs, and procedures that increase physical activity and improve nutrition. The evaluation compares a site-specific assessment of physical activity and nutrition supports and procedures before and after program implementation among the 200 participating sites. The assessment has 87 items including procedures, environments, provider behaviors, and provider education. The study also documents partner experiences with the initiative. Results: Results include the changes noted in the physical activity and nutrition support inventory during the first year. These cover age-appropriate environments, strategies, and programs to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. We will also share lessons learned in implementation and partner collaboration. Discussion: The childcare setting presents an important place to implement a multi-level approach to encourage physical activity and nutrition to give children a healthy start. Leveraging existing partnerships to support caregivers dispersed across a rural state is an effective way to create and sustain healthier environments for infants and young children.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe a cross-agency approach to implementing a statewide program to increase physical activity and healthy eating among children in the childcare setting. Discuss a model for reaching childcare providers in a rural state with an evidence based process to support an increase in physical activity and healthy eating. Identify the most commonly used environmental and system change strategies to increase physical activity and healthy eating in rural childcare settings.

Keyword(s): Child Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the program manager for several federally funded grants focusing on increasing healthy eating and active living in the childcare setting. Among my public health promotion interests has been the use of formal collaborations to extend dwindling resources in an effort to address childhood obesity in a rural state.
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.