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N.C. Public Health Receives Grant to Help Kids Eat Smart Move More

For release: Immediate    Nov. 22, 2010
Contact: Julie Henry 919-707-5053

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Public Health has been awarded a $926,708 grant to help preschoolers eat better and get more exercise. Gov. Bev Perdue announced that North Carolina is one of 14 states to receive a Child Care Wellness Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funds will support a new Kids Eat Smart Move More program for providers that participate in the state’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

“Our children deserve the best start in life we can give them,” Gov. Perdue said. “This grant not only will provide healthier meals and activities in child care centers, but it also will give parents important information about good health at home.”

CACFP plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care for children by making care more affordable for many low-income families. At least 800 institutions, representing 2,186 centers and 2,718 homes participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program in North Carolina. In addition, more than 155,719 children receive nutritious meals and snacks through the program.

Approximately 50 percent of the grant funds will go directly to child care programs across the state. In addition, the North Carolina Kids Eat Smart Move More program will develop child care nutrition and physical activity standards; provide training and information for sponsors and providers of child care centers and family and group day care homes; and promote and train providers in developing breastfeeding policies. Parent education about nutrition and physical activity will be an integral component of the program.

“Helping young children be more healthy and active is critical to the future of public health in North Carolina,” Jeff Engel, State Health Director said. “By promoting and teaching good health habits early on, we have the potential to reduce the burden of chronic diseases that stem from youth and adult obesity.”

According to 2008 statistics from the N.C. Physical Activity and Surveillance System (NC-NPASS), 16.4 percent of children 2-18 years old were considered overweight and 17.5 percent were considered obese. Research by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that when overweight begins before age 8, adult obesity is likely to be more severe.
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