Improving Early Care and Education Settings to Prevent Obesity in Children

Last week, the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity released its first ever state indicator report on obesity prevention efforts in Early Care and Education (ECE) settings. The report provides data for all 50 states and highlights state-specific case studies that have proven to be successful.

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CDC’s Spectrum of Opportunities for Obesity Prevention in ECE Settings

What is an Early Care and Education Setting?

According to the CDC’s website, “Early care and education (ECE) is a key setting to address childhood obesity for children under 5.” Broadly defined, an ECE setting is anywhere a child under the age of 5 receives care outside of the home. More specifically, the CDC highlights:

  • Child care centers
  • In-home daycare
  • Pre-kindergarten programs
  • Headstart facilities

headstart and obesity

What metrics do they use?

The report looks at a wide variety of programs, interventions, and policy changes.

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What does the report discover?

Some positive findings of the report include:

  • Forty-five states support “farm to early care and education” (F2ECE) programs through state or local activities.
  • Forty states have a group or task force that meets regularly to address obesity prevention in ECE settings.
  • Forty-two states offer professional development training for ECE providers that incorporate obesity prevention topics.

But there is room for improvement. Of the 47 high impact obesity prevention standards, the most any state fully met in 2014 was 15. Moreover, only 24 states reported having a recognition or designation program like “Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care.”

Is your state, county or community embracing policies and programs that support obesity prevention in ECE settings? Tell us about your efforts in the comments! Read the full report here and learn more about the CDC’s Spectrum of Opportunities for Obesity Prevention in ECE Settings.


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