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OCC Director's Letter to CCDF Administrators: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Published: September 17, 2013
Special Initiatives
Special Initiatives

September Is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Dear Colleagues:

Join the Office of Child Care in observing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this September.

Over the past four decades we have witnessed childhood obesity grow to epidemic proportions. More than 23 million children and teenagers ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight. That’s roughly one child in every three. Many of these children risk developing serious health problems in adulthood, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. The psychosocial consequences can hinder these children academically and socially.

Early care and education and afterschool providers play a critical role in supporting a child’s healthy development. By modeling healthy eating and physically active lifestyles, early care and education providers can set our children on the road to a lifetime of good habits.

Many early care and education providers and afterschool programs in communities across the country have created programs and activities to promote healthy eating and physical activity. We have partnered with the Office of Head Start to implement I Am Moving, I Am Learning, a proactive approach to addressing childhood obesity in Head Start programs, with more than 30 trainings being conducted in all 10 ACF Regions. We have also partnered with Let’s Move! Child Care, the First Lady’s initiative to provide resources and materials to combat childhood obesity. We encourage you to join the 12,000 participants already signed up to help early care and education providers and afterschool providers sign up for and access free resources from the Let’s Move! Child Care Web site. For more information about Let’s Move! Child Care, please visit the Web site at http://www.healthykidshealthyfuture.org/welcome.html.

To further our commitment to the health and well-being of children in early care and education settings, we have developed a stronger partnership with the National Association for Family Child Care and National Indian Child Care Association to increase overall participation in Let’s Move! Child Care and to combat childhood obesity in family child care and Tribal child care populations.

Many public and private partners have joined us as well. Contact your Office of Child Care Regional Program Manager to learn more about opportunities to get involved with Let’s Move! Child Care in your area.

The fight against childhood obesity gains momentum in September, and the results can last a lifetime. All children deserve a healthy start in life; it’s our responsibility to make that possible.

Shannon L. Rudisill
Office of Child Care