More than 1 in 5 low-income preschoolers in Prince William are obese.
That statistic is what inspired Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William (SBGPW), a local health and wellness organization, to act, according to a release.
SBGPW has started a campaign called ‘Taking Steps to Healthy Success’ where they will be working with 1,400 children at 13 child care centers in the county, to help with healthy eating and active lifestyles, stated a release.
According to a release, SBGPW will be running the program for nine months.
The five core areas of the program, from a release:
1) increasing fruits and vegetables
2) decreasing sugary drinks
3) limiting screen time
4)increasing physical activity
5) increasing the percentage of breastfeeding mothers
The program is being funded through grants from Nemours and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated a release.
Each child care center is getting about $5,000 for the program, which includes a $500 stipend and $1,500 in materials from General Mills, according to a release.
What some of the program’s child care centers are doing, from a release:
Caterpillar Clubhouse in Manassas revised its menus to include kid-approved recipes made from healthy ingredients such as fresh fruits and whole grains. The children participate in a sunrise walk on Wednesdays and they enjoy lots of physical activities such as “Dance Party Fridays,” the “Turkey Trot” and the “Reindeer Run.” The school’s spring gardening program helps children to learn where food comes from as they eat fresh produce. They also no longer serve juice, replacing it with water and fresh fruit.
Cougar Elementary School in Manassas Park has prioritized healthy eating habits and physical activity. The teachers and students eat together in the classroom, where they practice “family-style” dining to engage in conversation, learn manners and try different types of food. The cafeteria has been transformed into a multipurpose room for exercise and movement. To promote “farm-to-table” lifestyles, the children have helped to plant food items in garden boxes and their parents are invited to attend workshops on developing healthy eating habits at home.
Minnieland Academy in Bristow now serves fruit-infused water and menus include fresh fruits and vegetables. Outdoor playtime has been extended to encourage more physical activity. The school provides appropriate private space for mothers to breastfeed and also offers information on nutrition, breastfeeding and developmental milestones.