Legislating nutrition and exercise in child cares? Yes? No?
One urbanMama wrote in wondering what others think about the Oregonian's article yesterday on nutrition and exercise in child care settings. Did you see it? I did and it made me simultaneously appreciate and cringe about the food at our child care center, from the tater tot casserole (boo) to the organic milk (yay), from the fruit loops in the sensory table (yowza) to the whole wheat flour they're now using (progress!). Oh, and the unsweetened soy milk they recently switched to.
But legislate it? Our center used to participate in the UDSA food subsidy program for child care centers, and from what I understood (admittedly from the sidelines), compliance was a b#$%#. We've talked before about the quantity of outside time in childcare settings, but this is a little closer to home.
What do you think? Is this the help our child care system needs? I, for one, can think of some other items to at least add to the list, like 1) affordability, 2) location, 3) quality, and 4) availability. From the article:
With children joining the ranks of the overweight and obese before they're old enough to recite the alphabet, public health and child advocates say it's time working parents across Oregon wonder whether day cares should shoulder some of the responsibility.
Closer regulation could be on its way. A statewide obesity prevention task force has recommended that the upcoming Legislature require state agencies to study child care and develop minimum standards for physical activity, healthy foods and time in front of a screen.
New food and activity rules will undoubtedly raise some hackles. Is it necessary to mandate play for rambunctious toddlers? Reasonable to expect low-paid caregivers to persuade children to eat their vegetables when most parents can't pull it off at home? And, really, aren't toddlers supposed to be a little chubby?
Thanks, K, for asking what everyone thinks.