Design and implementation of a nutrition and physical activity curriculum for child care settings.
BACKGROUND: Childhood overweight continues to increase in the United States. Children should begin establishing healthy eating and physical activity behaviors at a young age. CONTEXT: Many children spend a large part of their day in child care settings, whether in preschools or home day care settings. Child care providers in these settings have an opportunity to establish and reinforce habits that promote good health. However, the providers need training and creative educational materials to teach children about healthy eating and physical activity. Color Me Healthy is an educational program focusing on nutrition and physical activity that was developed for children aged 4 and 5 years by three of the authors (C.D., C.T., and L.P.). METHODS: In 2001 and 2002, the program was implemented in 47 North Carolina counties and the North Carolina Cherokee reservation. In December 2001, we used an information-dissemination model called Train the Trainer during a session to teach county teams comprising local public health professionals and cooperative extension employees how to teach child care providers in their communities to use the curriculum. The child care providers were then trained between March and August 2002. Follow-up evaluation forms were given to trained child care providers 8 weeks after the training. CONSEQUENCES: Of the providers who completed the evaluations (n = 486), 92.0% indicated that using the Color Me Healthy curriculum increased the physical activity of their students, and 91.8% indicated that it increased the children's knowledge about movement. In addition, 93.0% of providers also indicated that using Color Me Healthy had increased the children's knowledge about healthy eating. INTERPRETATION: Child care providers need educational materials on healthy eating and physical activity and should be trained to use them. The Train the Trainer model is an effective way to teach public health professionals to train child care providers on the Color Me Healthy curriculum materials about healthy eating and physical activity.
Dunn, C; Thomas, C; Ward, D; Pegram, L; Webber, K; Cullitan, C
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