As Child Health Month comes to a close, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) continues to promote and support early childhood health and health outcomes for the child care community. Child obesity remains a large problem which threatens the future health of children as they grow to adulthood. Child care providers are also a high risk population when it comes to health outcomes. Providers earn low wages and the majority of providers are women of color – characteristics often associated with poor access to care. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth new focus on the impact of inequity on health outcomes.
Despite the fact that the child care workforce may be at greater risk of chronic disease, there is a need for increased focus on their health, especially during this time. Enhanced and deliberate attention is essential to the physical and emotional wellness of young children and their child care providers given the long-term health impact for these populations.
As the pandemic, along with a variety of natural disasters and civil unrest have affected the routine and structure of our daily lives, deliberate attention to wellness is more important than ever. Further, obesity rates are higher among people of color for a variety of reasons rooted in structural racism that creates risk factors for poor health such as poverty and lack of access to healthy food. As children, their families and child care programs continue to address the pandemic, the risk for physical and emotional health issues has increased due to recent changes in our lifestyle.
Promoting health is important for a variety of reasons, that have been well-documented. In addition, as we learn more about COVID-19, we have discovered that obesity places individuals at greater risk for severe symptoms from COVID-19, as well as a variety of illnesses. Further, rates of obesity and associated health conditions disproportionately impact the same communities that are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a variety of other health conditions.
Over the next several months, CCAoA will produce materials and tools to help the child care community address wellness promotion, with special considerations for the impact of COVID-19 and other external influences on attaining wellness.
Today, we're happy to share this infographic about health and wellness in four key areas: nutrition, physical activity, rest/sleep and emotional wellness. These tips are designed for the child care community to address overall wellness for children and the adults who care for them.
We also provide a variety of resources to help the child care community as we work together to promote wellness.