Preventing Obesity in the Child Care Setting

Evaluating State Regulations

Most states would get a failing grade if ranked according to model obesity prevention regulations governing child-care centers, according to a report released in early December 2009. However, improving such grades should be straightforward for most states because there is strong expert agreement on the model regulations that can best help child-care centers provide healthier foods and more opportunities for physical activity. The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its national program Healthy Eating Research.

Although the majority of states would have failed if compared to model regulations, most still performed at average or below-average levels even when compared to less stringent, less specific standards. When compared to those less than ideal standards the vast majority of states got an overall grade of a C. No states received an A, and just eight earned a B.

The report’s authors encouraged states to adopt specific regulations for child care, using those developed by a team of experts and included in the report as a guide. They also said states should help support child-care facilities through adequate funding and technical assistance.