(L) Talitha Robinson, Health Educator Consultant Closing the Gap Program
Florida Department of Health in Franklin/Gulf County, (R) Soudra Davis,
Owner of Davis Child Development Center in Apalachicola
In the past thirty years, the number of children at an unhealthy weight has doubled in the US while the prevalence among adolescents has quadrupled. Unhealthy weight in children increases the likelihood of unhealthy weight in adulthood. This can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.
The Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin Counties (DOH-Gulf/Franklin) is tackling this challenge through the Early Childcare Education project. Community health improvement partners proposed this directive and it is part of the DOH-Gulf/Franklin Healthiest Weight Florida work plan. Partners include local Head Start programs, Healthy Families, Healthy Start, Closing the Gap, and school representatives.
"When we started, we didn’t know how much was already being done by our licensed childcare facilities in response to unhealthy weight in children," says Sarah Hinds, DOH- Gulf/Franklin Operations Manager and Management Consultant. "The Early Childcare Education subcommittee members are committed to helping these providers receive recognition for their great work."
Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) encourages and supports child care and early education providers to make positive changes in their programs in order to work toward a healthier future for children. LMCC offers resources and tools to assist child care and preschool providers help children make healthy choices. Best practices are outlined in five healthy goal areas: nurturing healthy eaters, providing healthy beverages, increasing physical activity, limiting screen time and supporting breastfeeding.
Collaborating with community partners and residents, DOH-Gulf/Franklin holds monthly community health improvement partner meetings. Addressing overweight and obesity statistics among youth is a priority for both counties. A special subcommittee is tracking progress and during the month of February they met with each licensed organization to complete the registration process.
DOH-Gulf/Franklin is listening to their community and taking action on this important community health issue. By engaging with community partners and residents, DOH-Gulf/Franklin is building the capacity for long-term prevention.
From the Florida Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin Counties March 2016 Wellness Newsletter: