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A Healthy Start for Washington County’s Youngest Residents

Living Healthy in Washington County (LHWC) is working to help our youngest residents get off to a healthy start in life. In April 2018, we partnered with Parent Aware and Washington County Community Services to learn more from child care providers in Washington County. Providers in child care centers and in-home settings were asked how they promoted healthy habits with children in their care, and if providers were interested in expanding these healthy practices.

LHWC learned that local child care providers are already doing a lot of great things to promote healthy choices for kids in their care. Four out of every five providers offer healthy foods to children at least twice each day – including fruit, vegetables, and high fiber, whole grain foods. And nearly every provider surveyed offers children at least 90 minutes of active play time per day.

One goal of the survey was to identify child care providers interested in partnering with LHWC, part of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP). Both child care centers and in-home child care providers expressed an interest in expanding adult-led physical activity throughout the day and incorporating more vegetables into child care meals and snacks. Washington County SHIP staff used information from the survey to offer trainings in August based on provider’s top interest areas. SHIP staff will be doing additional outreach to providers to develop partnerships in the coming year.

Young children can be incredibly open minded when it comes to trying new foods and activities, especially when they see their caregivers and peers doing the same. Washington County child care providers are helping kids establish healthy habits early on. These great habits can nudge children towards healthier choices for a lifetime.

Interested in learning more? Read the Washington County Child Care Provider Survey Report.

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