Smart Start Receives Large Grant
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation is investing more than $240,000 in a Smart Start-administered program to reduce childhood obesity.
The Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) program is an evidence-based intervention developed at UNC-Chapel Hill that works to improve the nutrition and physical activity practices and policies in child care centers that impact children ages 2 to 5.
In North Carolina, the percentage of children ages 2 to 4 who are overweight or are at risk for becoming overweight has increased steadily from 22 percent in 1995 to 31 percent in 2007, according to a report by the North Carolina Nutrition and Physical Activity Surveillance System (2007). Approximately 52 percent of North Carolina's children between the ages of 2 and 5 are enrolled in licensed child care centers. These children may consume between 50 percent and 100 percent of their Recommended Dietary Allowances while at the child care facility.
To address this increase in childhood obesity among 2 to 5-year-olds, NAP SACC uses state-trained child care health consultants who work with child care center directors to improve nutritional and physical activities and policies.
The health consultants help centers create action plans and provide technical assistance for at least six months.
The goal is that 75 percent of participating centers completing action plans will demonstrate improvement in nutritional and physical activity practices. This may include increased physical activity time and offering healthier food to the children in their care.
Since Smart Start launched the program in 2007, NAP SACC has reached 3,446 children from 67 child care centers in nine counties. Increasing access to physical activity and nutrition is a central focus of the BCBSNC Foundation. The grant will support the NAP SACC program in Burke, Catawba, Guilford, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Orange, Person, Stanly, and Wake Counties through July. Smart Start is also funding the program in Wayne County.
"We would like to thank the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation for their commitment to reducing childhood obesity and supporting our NAP SACC program," said Stephanie Fanjul, president of the North Carolina Partnership for Children Inc., the organization that leads the 78 Smart Start partnerships across the state.
"They are invested in improving the health of our youngest citizens. With their support, we are helping child care providers set healthy examples for our children that will help them stay healthy throughout their lives."
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