Healthy eating and active living messages are far more effective for children if adults model the behaviors themselves. Research has shown that positive role modeling by adult caretakers correlates with an increased interest in food and less fussiness in eating healthy foods.² Most importantly, adults who understand the importance of their role in developing children’s healthy behaviors can help ensure the lifelong health of the children they serve.³
This is what our Pledge the Practice, Pass the Policy Initiative is all about: modeling healthy behaviors in institutional settings to change norms among both staff and the families with young children that they serve.
Our Pledge the Practice, Pass the Policy Initiative asks agencies to adopt policies that support breastfeeding, healthy food and beverage consumption, tap water consumption, active movement and play, and reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. These policies emphasize the importance of making changes in key community environments and settings in order to make healthy eating and activity choices easier.
We understand that organizational policy change isn’t always easy. That’s why Healthy & Active Before 5 will provide a $500 mini-grant to agencies that pass new healthy policies. The mini-grant funds may be spent on items which either support the implementation of the agencies new healthy policy, or support the goals of the HAB45 Action Plan in other ways. For instance, you might want to buy reusable water pitchers, a comfortable chair for a new breastfeeding space, or indoor play equipment appropriate for young children. You choose what would be most helpful to your agency.
- Gregory, Jane E., Susan J. Paxton, and Anna M. Brozovic. “Pressure to Eat and Restriction Are Associated with Child Eating Behaviours and Maternal Concern about Child Weight, but Not Child Body Mass Index, in 2- to 4-year-old Children.” Appetite3 (2010): 550-56. Pubmed. Web.
- Eliassen, Erin. “The Impact of Teachers and Families on Young Children’s Eating Behaviors.” Young Children(2011): n. pag. National Association for the Education of Young Children.