June 29, 2012
Concord, NH - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) for the implementation of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC). NAP SACC is a self-assessment tool to help child care programs improve healthy eating and physical activity for preschool children. It was developed by the University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and
Disease Prevention and is one of three programs identified by The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity to address obesity in early childhood.
Healthy habits start early. Because of the large numbers of children who attend child care, it is a logical place to start healthy habits by providing healthy food and daily active play. Child care participation in NAP SACC is voluntary. Child care programs complete the self-assessment to decide where they want to focus their efforts.
“NAP SACC works because it gives child care programs the flexibility to decide where they want to make changes and when they are ready to begin,” said José Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services at DHHS. “Once small changes are made, programs often move on to more challenging issues.”
After completing the self-assessment, the early-care staff meets with a NAP SACC consultant provided by the Obesity Prevention Program. Next steps include developing an action plan, drafting policies, and deciding how to implement improvements. Examples of changes made by child care programs include making drinking water available indoors and out; updating menus to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; serving skim milk to children age 2 and older; and increasing opportunities for active play.
The NAP SACC consultant also delivers staff training to support the healthy changes.
To date, 15 child care programs serving more than 1,200 preschoolers in the State have adopted policies resulting in more active play and healthier food offerings. “If child care centers can maintain and improve policies over time, then more and more children will benefit,” said Dr. Montero. Additional NAP SACC efforts are underway in the state this summer.
To read the CDC article, visit www.cdc.gov/obesity/stateprograms/statestories.html. For more information about NAP SACC or the NH Obesity Prevention Program, contact the program at (603) 271-4551 or visit the website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/obesity.htm.