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Big Win for Utah's Kids

Ever wonder what the advocacy team is up to while the legislative session isn’t going on?

In the advocacy world we often use the term “policy and systems change” to describe the work that we do – or rather – where we try to make changes that will have an impact on improving health and saving lives. While “Policy” can be changed through legislative action, changes can also take place in what are called “Administrative Rules”.

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hero_image_alt_text===Young children eating a healthy lunch.
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thumbnail_alt_text===Young children eating a healthy lunch.
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To give you a behind the scenes idea of what this is think of it like this: Laws tell people what they can and can’t do – Administrative Rules tell people how those laws are to be implemented. 

A prime example is our work in the arena of Childcare Licensing. At first glance you might think, “What is the American Heart Association doing in Daycares?” (it’s okay, I had the same initial thought). The answer is working with the state and childcare owners to try and improve the health of young children by enhancing current physically active, healthy foods, and screen time standards.

Under new rules that we have worked with the Childcare Licensing Committee the past three years on, providers will now offer more nutritious food, increased physical activity opportunities, and limited screen time to children in their care. These new policies will ensure that the more than 1,800 licensed Home and Center-based Early Care and Education providers in Utah are providing the safest and healthiest environments for kids to learn and grow while they are away from their families! That accounts for over 40,000 Utah children!

What, specifically, does the policy do?

  • Children will receive daily recommended levels of physical activity while in these child care settings (30 minutes for half day [less than 4 hours] and 60 minutes for full day [6 to 8 hours].
  • Food provided will meet nationally recognized Childhood and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) standards. CACFP nutrition standards require that meals and snacks served will include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat.
  • “Screen Time” standards will be enforced to ensure children spend more time being active and less time being sedentary in front of a TV, phone, tablet, or other device.

This was an active campaign that required many hours of organizing, education, collaboration, and advocacy. Pivotal to our success were amazing volunteers like yourselves and advocates that supported the campaign across multiple years. After all, when it comes to battling the effects of heart disease and stroke and working to improve the health of our communities, You’re the Cure!

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