What is Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program?

Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program was created in 2014 to accompany six additional Certified Healthy Oklahoma programs: Business, Campus, Community, Congregation, Restaurant, and School. The program is administered by the Oklahoma Turning Point Council and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Center for the Advancement of Wellness. Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program recognizes early childhood programs that are working to improve the health of children, families, and staff by providing wellness opportunities and implementing policies that lead to healthier lifestyles.

Why Does Certified Healthy Matter?

Becoming a Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program means you are providing a healthy environment for children and families, as well as your staff, along with supporting an overall healthier Oklahoma. By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, Early Childhood programs provide an established environment to foster behavior modification among children, their families, and program staff, in addition to policy adoption and implementation. It is imperative to establish healthy habits and behaviors in infancy and early childhood, and “health education for children is an investment in a lifetime of good health practices and contributes to a healthier childhood and adult life” (AAP, et al. 2011). By providing an early childhood environment rooted in evidence-based health and wellness principles, you are contributing to future generations of thriving, productive adults. Additionally, staff and adult members of children’s families benefit from effective wellness policies via both direct exposure and information dissemination.

Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Childhood obesity is no laughing matter.

  • In recent years the national obesity rate among 2- to 4-year-olds has declined to 8.9%
  • Despite improvements, obesity remains too high among low-income young children.
  • In 2014, obesity prevalence among 2-4 years old children enrolled in WIC wiin U.S. and Oklahoma was 14.5% and 13.8%
  • We know that obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, which places them at increased risk for “heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis” as they age (CDC 2014).

It is estimated that obesity attributable expenditures in U.S, and Oklahoma are $147 billion and $1,72 billion respectivelyAs a reminder, overweight and obese children are more likely to become overweight and obese adults. The change starts with YOU!

Early childhood programs that are Certified Healthy see a return on their investment via healthier children, families, and staff. By contributing to the wellness of those in your establishment, you are helping to create a better, brighter Oklahoma. Early childhood programs that advocate for health are recognized as leaders in the community!


References

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. 2011. Caring for our children: National health and safety performance standards; Guidelines for early care and education programs. 3rd Edition. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; Washington, DC: American Public Health Association. Also available at http://nrckids.org.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 2014. Childhood Obesity Facts. Adolescent and School Health. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 2014. Childhood Obesity Facts. Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (April 2012). Causes and Consequences. Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes/index.html.

Ogden, Cynthia, et al. February 2014. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8): 806-814. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542.