Many Colorado early childcare centers are meeting the enhanced nutritional standards of Colorado’s Healthier Meals Initiative by serving more whole grains and limiting juice and process meat.
Early Care and Education: A State Indicator Report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention featured the state’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) initiative for enhancing nutrition standards and providing obesity prevention training and resources for child care centers statewide. According to the report, among 639 centers, 95.2 percent of the centers served whole grains on the menus, 98.5 percent limited juice, and 94.7 percent limited processed meats.
CACFP is a federally funded program run by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in conjunction with other local organizations. It provides nutrition assistance and education to child care centers and homes statewide.
Early in life, children develop preferences for eating healthy and being active that continue into adulthood, setting the stage for achieving a healthy weight. Colorado’s Healthier Meals Initiative (HMI) raised nutritional standards for child care centers, put together a culinary toolkit, and offered training to help child care providers improve nutrition for the children they serve. Colorado CACFP also partnered with Cooking Matters, a non-profit organization that helps families and child care providers cook healthy meals on a budget, to provide cooking instructions and trainings to child care providers.
Early childhood obesity prevention is a priority for local public health agencies and communities across Colorado. The CDC recognized Colorado and other states that have enhanced nutrition standards and promoted early childhood obesity prevention.