Anne is the Coordinator of the MA Children at Play at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Some people ask me if preschool is too early for teaching kids how to eat healthy and be active. My answer? It’s never too early! Kids learn habits when they’re very young. Teaching them to eat better and move more early on helps them live a healthy lifestyle now and later as adults.
There is a recent regulation requiring Massachusetts childcare programs to offer a nutrition program and 60 minutes of physical activity each day, which I am thrilled about. I’ve worked with child care providers for many years though, and if there is one thing I know about this profession, it’s that time and resources are not on a child care provider’s side. That’s where Massachusetts Children at Play comes into play.
MA Children at Play is a free program that teaches child care providers how to easily add active movement and healthy food options into child care settings. Children learn how to grow, make and eat healthy foods, including colorful fruits and vegetables. They’re also served healthy drinks, like water, low fat, and skim milk instead of whole milk or sugary drinks. Children read books, sing songs and have fun food experiences, like taste tests, that teach them healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
MA Children at Play also helps children be active 60 minutes each day in a fun, age-appropriate way! They also learn fun songs, games and activities that focus on learning and active living.
Whether or not your child is enrolled in a center that uses MA Children at Play, there are things you can do at home to help your child eat better and move more:
• Serve healthy snacks and meals that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
• Offer your children water, and limit sugary drinks like soda, juice and sports drinks
• Make sure your child is active for at least 60 minutes a day
• Limit TV and computer time to 1-2 hours each day
• Be a good role model – eat better and move more yourself!
Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014 posted on Dec 19
Rates of flu-like illness increased slightly over the past seven days in Massachusetts, as indicated in the latest weekly flu report. Flu season doesn’t tend to peak until later in February or even March – so there is still plenty of time to get vaccinated …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014
Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014 posted on Dec 12
This week’s flu report shows a slight dip in rates of flu-like illness since last week’s report – which is entirely in keeping with the unpredictable nature of flu season. One thing we know for sure is that no matter what, the single best way to …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014
Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014 posted on Dec 10
The December monthly meeting of the Public Health Council featured the consideration of one Determination of Need (DoN) request, two votes on final amendments to existing regulations, and an informational presentation to the Council on a key DPH community initiative. First, the Council took up …Continue Reading Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014