Child Care

As the rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the United States over the past 30 years, many obesity prevention efforts have focused on school-age children and the school environment. Child care settings also play a fundamental role in establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits.  Over half of all children between the ages of zero and five regularly spend significant time in non-parental child care.  There is untapped potential for government to take meaningful action to prevent childhood obesity through the implementation of nutrition, physical activity, screen time standards and other policies in child care settings. 

There are many other exciting strategies to promote health in the child care setting, including healthy food procurement and group purchasing agreements, Farm to Preschool and Safe Routes to School programs, shared use agreements, supportive breast milk policies, and school gardens.

Check out our resources below and in the sidebar.

Girl eating fruit

Healthy Child Care - 50 State Review

Every state regulates the child care setting differently, depending on the type of child care facility and provider. The Public Health Law Center has developed a 50-state analysis of child care licensing laws, including state statutes and licensing regulations. We have highlighted the laws in each state for easy review by advocates and policy makers. This project was funded by Healthy Eating Research grant #69299 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Healthy Child Care - 50 State Review

Child on tricycle

Healthy Child Care Local Authority

Regulatory standards play a critical role in establishing norms and important baseline protections for the health and safety of children receiving non-parental care.  Recent studies found that state regulations generally do not provide adequate nutrition or physical activity standards. Local governments represent untapped potential for improving child care nutrition and physical activity standards where states have failed to do so.

Learn more about Healthy Child Care Local Authority


Check out our Child Care Resource Archive.

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