By Cassandra Harris
We are proud to announce that our Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity was recently recognized by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, along with the Center for Training and Research Translation, for their efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the child care setting. Instrumental to this effort, Misty Pearson, our Early Care and Education Coordinator, initiated a partnership with the SC Department of Social Services to help address the prevalence of childhood obesity in South Carolina.
Through the voluntary ABC Grow Healthy program, Pearson and our team continue to work with partners across the state to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments of child care providers. Together, we have developed nutrition and physical activity-related standards for incorporation into the statewide ABC Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System (ABC Quality).
“We recognize that developing healthy behaviors early in life provides the foundation for lifelong wellness,” said Pearson. “Through working with our partners across the state we are able to reach our youth at a critical time in their development, providing them with the tools they need to succeed.”
In South Carolina, approximately 65% of children under the age of six are living with families that need some level of child care.
“With an increasing number of children being cared for outside of the home, it is important to understand the potential that child care centers have to influence healthy behaviors in young children,” said Pearson. “Today, an estimated 1,200 child care centers across the state participate in the ABC Child Care program, helping 85,000 children in a positive way through better nutrition and physical activity.”
Congratulations to Pearson for being recognized for her outstanding work with early care and education. Families wanting their children to receive healthier meals and increased opportunities for physical activity can look for providers rated by the ABC Quality System at www.scchildcare.org.