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Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings


Through individual behavior change and social support, Eat Well Play Hard in Child care Settings (EWPHCCS) is designed to increase young children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, encourage consumption of low-fat or fat-free dairy products, increase time young children are physically active, and decrease the amount of time young children spend watching television.

The EWPHCCS curriculum contains 10 lesson plans tailored for preschoolers and 10 complementary lessons for their parents/caretakers.  The lessons are about nutrition, cooking, mealtime behavior, and increasing physical activity among children.  Activities, food preparation demonstrations, recipes, and take-home materials reinforce the learning objectives for each lesson.  Annually, the lessons are delivered by Registered Dietitians (RDs) in each of the 15 child care sites across New York State, including four New York City boroughs. 

Background: The EWPHCCS intervention was developed in 2005 by members of the Nutrition Division in the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and by the New York State Director of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  The intervention developers conducted focus groups with parents who benefited from the CACFP and also interviewed child care center staff to learn how to best implement the EWPHCCS program.  Moreover, intervention developers conducted a literature review, surveyed similar programs in other states, and asked academic experts in nutrition and physical activity to help inform the curriculum.

At the community level, Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) hire RDs to implement EWPHCCS.  Child Care Resource and Referral agencies are found all over the US and provide a link between the community and child care providers.  These agencies work with communities to enhance capacity and the quality of care provided to young children by offering resources, training and support to child care providers. As respected leaders in the child care community, CCR&Rs are a natural partner for implementation of EWPHCCS.  In New York, CCR&Rs also sponsor CACFP in day care homes. CACFP works with the existing infrastructure of CCR&Rs to implement EWPHCCS and is flexible enough to work with other agencies, such as NYCDOHMH. 

Intended Population: EWPHCCS serves eligible and participating SNAP-Ed families with pre-school age (3-5 years) children enrolled in low-income child care centers receiving CACFP funds. Eligible centers are those in which 50% or more of enrolled families qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Setting: Child care

Length of time in the field: EWPHCCS has been in the field since June 2006.