Excerpted from Shaping a Healthier Generation: Successful State Strategies to Prevent Childhood Obesity, a new report by the National Governors Assocation:
Many states have pursued public-private partnerships to provide comprehensive early child care and education systems for children. Through these partnerships, states can leverage additional funding opportunities, enhance technical assistance, coordinate and align resources, and build public will for funding and policy initiatives in child care settings.
Smart Start, a public-private partnership initiative in child care, makes child care more affordable and accessible, provides access to health services, and offers family support. . .
To improve children’s nutrition and physical health, Smart Start launched the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care Program (NAP SACC), which offers competitive local community grants to (among other things) reduce childhood obesity. To date, the NAP SACC grant program has reached nearly 3,500 children between the ages of two and five years and 67 centers in nine counties across the state.
In North Carolina, the percentage of children ages two to four who are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight has increased from 22% in 1995 to almost 32% in 2008. Early childhood programs can play an important role in combating the obesity epidemic. Approximately 37% of North Carolina’s children between the ages of two and five are enrolled in licensed child care centers, and they may consume between 50% and 100% of their Recommended Dietary Allowances while at the center.
The NAP SACC program partners with state-trained child care health consultants and works with early childhood programs to improve nutrition and physical activity practices and policies. Smart Start introduced NAP SACC in November, 2007 with the intention that participating centers would demonstrate improvement in nutritional and physical activity practices.