Healthier Child Care Centers

IMG_7247Working parents count on child care centers to provide loving, safe environments for their kids while they’re on the job. Recently, child care workers in west Georgia had an opportunity to learn how they can go the extra mile to ensure that they also offer healthy meals and snacks and plenty of physical activity for their students.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, early childhood educators from Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties gathered for an educational seminar sponsored by Get Healthy, Live Well at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. The half-day workshop offered expert training to help implement wellness strategies and improve the nutrition and physical activity environment at childcare centers across west Georgia.

IMG_7277Registered Dietitian Jennifer Popadiuk, LD, gave a presentation on Bright from the Start, an evidence-based wellness program designed for child care centers that aims to reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity for preschool-age children. Debra Kibbe from the Georgia Health Policy Center spoke on current obesity rates across the state, and Brian Mosier, Ph.D. from the University of West Georgia led the group in fun physical fitness games designed to help teachers include bursts of physical activity throughout the day. J. Thad Joiner Jr. and Luella Flores spoke about current wellness efforts underway at The Bridge Learning Centers.

IMG_7266“We’re very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of west Georgia’s educators involved in this community initiative,” said Denise Taylor, Senior VP and Chief Community Health Strategy and Brand Officer at Tanner Health System. “Because our children spend significant amounts of time in child care centers, it’s essential that we support programs to teach kids healthy habits at a very young age. These are some of the most important lessons our children will ever learn.”

IMG_7280Research shows that child care centers can make a significant positive impact on children’s health by teaching  healthy eating and exercise habits. Proven essential for proper brain development in young children, these behaviors promote improved concentration and performance in school, improved mood and ability to regulate emotions and sustain balanced energy levels.