We live in a culture in which the healthiest choice isn’t always the easiest one, and that culture is having an impact on our kids.
In order to raise healthy kids and help all children grow up at a healthy weight, we must ensure that the places where our children live, grow, learn, and play make the healthy choice the easy choice.
The American Heart Association in North Dakota is working to build a culture of health for all children in North Dakota by establishing a statewide early care and education licensing standards that meet the guidelines for USDA CACFP nutrition requirements, YMCA physical activity, elimination of sugary beverages, and screen time recommendations for all early childcare provider settings through the Voices for Healthy Kids grant.
As of 2016, North Dakota has 1,395 licensed early childcare programs with a total licensed capacity of 34,539 children. With 73% of North Dakota children ages 0-5 living in households where both parents were in the labor force, many parents look to childcare providers to ensure that their children are being well taken care of and are learning healthy habits. Standards for licensed child care providers will ensure that all children have the same opportunity for a healthy start in life.
Joan Enderle, MBA, RD, Campaign Manager for Voices for Healthy Kids grant, will be working with parents and childcare providers to engage in discussion and education about trends in children’s health. Joan has laid the ground work for the Voices for Healthy Kids grant through her recently completed ANCHOR grant where she joined forces with the Cass Clay Childcare Alive! Work Group which led efforts to expand Fargo Child Care Center Licensing Standards for physical activity, screen time limits and elimination of sugary beverages to West Fargo. Joan also worked in collaboration with Heartland Nutrition and SENDCAA to educate 800 childcare home providers to improve healthier meals and snacks with a focus on sodium reduction and whole grain rich, low sugar cereal options.
Joan has been invited to be a member of the statewide Nutrition and Physical Activity in Early Childhood (NPAEC) committee, led by the ND Department of Health. This network of agencies and organizations mission is to support nutrition and physical activity in Early Care and Education settings.
Joan hopes to focus on engagement of tribal communities throughout the eight regions of the state to work on reducing the disparity level as part of this grant. The Tribal Headstart program is represented on the NPAEC which will give AHA the opportunity to gain understanding of their needs and engage volunteers from those tribal communities.
For more information about the Voices for Healthy Kids initiative CLICK HERE
To contact Joan with questions about the North Dakota Voices for Healthy Kids grant please email her at [email protected] or by phone at 701-658-3046.