Obesity Prevention: Physical Activity, Nutrition, Screen Time

Obesity is epidemic in the United States. Preventing obesity starts in early childhood. Learning life skills for physical activity and nutrition are key. ECELS has an online self-learning module to teach users to evaluate their program’s physical activity and nutrition practices and polices for 3 to 5 year old children. The module includes a self-assessment and development of an action plan for program improvement as well as many other resources.

Learning healthy fitness behaviors during early childhood is much better than trying to change poor habits later in life. Recent studies indicate that children are not active enough in both center-based and home-based child care settings. The opportunities for large muscle activity and frequent meals and snacks that children eat in early learning programs are elements of the curriculum that can foster healthy behaviors to prevent obesity.

ECELS offers a Self-Learning Module Online on the ECELS website called "Fitness and Nutrition: Moving and Munching - Supporting Physical Activity and Nutrition in Early Learning Programs." This module allows users to assess their program’s physical activity and nutrition policies and practices for children ages 3-5 using the research-tested Nutrition and Physical Activity Self- Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC). The module includes developing an action plan to make improvements based on the self-assessment. In addition, the module covers how to create a nutritious menu and evaluate the menu according to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) guidelines. There are resources for staff and parents too. This self-learning module addresses some specific subscales in ECERS-ITERS: Personal Care Routines, Space and Furnishings, Activities, and Interaction. Successful completion earns 3 hours of Pennsylvania-authorized professional development credit and can be applied toward the STAR Level 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety. Find this online self-learning in the listings of self-learning modules on this ECELS website in the Professional Development/Training section. Reviewed and reaffirmed 5/2019