Every child deserves the chance to eat healthy food and play every day. Because 60 % children under age 6 spend much of their time in care outside of their homes, early care and education (ECE) settings are important places for children to build healthy habits.
This time of year, illness seems to be everywhere. For those of us who work with children every day, the sounds of coughing, sneezing and nose-blowing are an unpleasant soundtrack playing on repeat from November to May. And this year, Coronavirus, concerning new respiratory illness from China is getting a lot of attention and has many people worried about what will happen as it spreads in the United States.
(Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published January 30, but was recently updated on March 14 to reflect the most up-t0-date information around the spread and status of the illness.)
Long-term Head Start Impact on developmental outcomes for children in foster care
Lee, K. Child Abuse Neglect (March 2020).
Background: In 2016, about 437,000 children were in the foster system in the United States. Children in the foster care system are at higher risk for experiencing poverty, abuse, chronic diseases and developmental impairments. Children in foster care are also at greater risk for struggling academically due to instability in their living situations and inconsistent school attendance. These risk factors affect not only health outcomes but social-emotional and cognitive outcomes as well. Children in foster care are eligible to participate in the Head Start program, which pairs high-quality early care and education with family supports and access to specialized services. This study looks at whether participating in Head Start improves developmental outcomes for children involved with the foster care system.
Implementation Strategies Used by States to Support Physical Activity Licensing Standards for Toddlers in Early Care and Education Settings: An Exploratory Qualitative Study
Lessard, L., Speirs, K., and Slesinger, N. Childhood Obesity (September 2018).
Background: Childhood obesity is a major health concern that affects even very young children, like those served in early care and education (ECE) settings. Participating in at least 90 minutes of physical activity each day helps young children establish healthy routines and make them less likely to experience obesity. States can make sure children in ECE are getting enough physical activity by setting licensing regulations for the time and intensity of daily active play. This study looks at strategies and obstacles to enforcing those regulations.
The health status of the early care and education workforce in the USA: A scoping review of evidence and current practice
Lessard, L.M., Wilkins, K., Rose-Malm, J., and Mazzocchi, M.C. Public Health Reviews (January 2020).
Background: Ten million young children in the U.S. are enrolled in an early care and education (ECE) program such as child care, Head Start or pre-kindergarten. These programs would not function without a workforce of roughly two million ECE teachers and support staff. The ECE workforce is made up almost entirely of women, disproportionately women of color, who earn low wages and receive few benefits. These factors suggest that the ECE workforce may be at a high risk for chronic diseases, but we know little about individuals’ health status. This paper looks at what information we have about the health of the workforce and what types of programs are being used to improve ECE workers’ health.
Added Sugars Intake among US Infants and Toddlers
Herrick, K.A., Fryar, C.D., Hamner, H.C., Park, S., and Ogden, C.L. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (January 2020).
Background: Eating and drinking foods with added sugars has been associated with several health conditions including asthma, obesity, dental cavities and high blood pressure in children. The current national guidelines for nutrition only provide recommendations for people over the age of 2. This study looks at added sugar consumption rates among infants and toddlers by race, age, sex and family education and income level.