State Health Department Awards Grant as Part of Statewide Effort to Fight Childhood Obesity

ALBANY, April 25, 2007 – The New York State Health Department today awarded $500,000 to the New York State Child Care Coordinating Council as part of a new initiative to fight childhood obesity in day care centers throughout the state.

"The best way to attack childhood obesity is to prevent it or at least detect it early and stop its progression. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults," said Dr. Daines. "The New York State Child Care Coordinating Council is an important partner in our commitment to prevent and reduce childhood obesity by increasing opportunities for children to be physically active and learn to eat healthy foods."

The award will support the Council's Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment in Child Care during the next five years. The Child Care Coordinating Council is a statewide, not-for-profit membership organization that promotes excellence in early care and education.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overweight children and adolescents are more likely to be at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol) than other children and adolescents. Research shows that the risk for future health problems can be greatly reduced by promoting healthy eating and increasing physical activity in preschool-aged children.

A 2004 survey of oral health, physical activity and nutrition of New York third-graders revealed that 21 percent were obese. Another State study of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program found that the prevalence of obesity among 2 to 4 year-old participating children increased from 12 percent in 1989 to 16 percent in 2004.

The Child Care Coordinating Council will use the $500,000 grant to provide child care centers with training on childhood obesity, healthy eating, physical activity and personal health, and provide extended consultation to assist centers in achieving their improvement goals. Because obesity is increasing among preschool children, child care centers are an important setting for early intervention to prevent the onset of childhood obesity.

Healthy practices for preschool-age children include:

  • Spend at least two hours in physical activity each day.
  • Turn off the TV for children under 2 years of age and limit the amount of TV time for older children.
  • Eat 3 cups of vegetables and fruits daily.
  • Limit juice to no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Drink low-fat or fat-free milk (children age 2 and over).
  • Drink water and avoid all beverages high in sugar.

For additional information on childhood overweight and obesity prevention, please visit the Department's Web site at www.health.ny.gov.