Promoting participation in physical activity among infants and young children is critical to their overall health, development of motor skills, social skills and maintenance of healthy weight. Daily physical activity promotes young childrens’ gross motor development and provides many health benefits including improved fitness and heart health, healthy bone development, improved sleep, and improved mood and sense of well-being.
Too much screen time can increase the risk of attention problems, social and emotional health and difficulty sleeping in children. Excessive media use has also been associated with lags in achievement of knowledge and weight gain.
Good nutrition during the first 2 years of life is vital for healthy growth and development. Well-nourished children are healthier, more attentive and have better mental performance than children who are under-nourished. Healthy eating can help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, consume important nutrients and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, iron deficiency and dental caries (cavities).
Drinking water instead of sugary drinks can help reduce extra calorie intake, promote dental hygiene, reduce the impact of cavities and prevent dehydration, constipation and fatigue.
Breastfeeding provides developmental benefits for infants like mother-infant bonding, reduces a child’s risk for a variety of infections, reduces a child’s risk for chronic conditions later in life, and reduces mothers’ risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
About Us & Funding Source Summary
Florida’s HEROs: Healthy Environments for Reducing Obesity is a program of the Health Council of Southeast Florida supported by funding from Nemours Children’s Health System. We work to support Early Care and Education Programs/ECE Programs to apply best practices related to nutrition and physical activity by providing free technical assistance and continuing education opportunities. We then recognize ECE providers for taking proactive, voluntary steps to improve their programs’ practices and policies related to the best practices. We also work closely with a group of ECE stakeholders across the state of Florida to expand the recognition program and include obesity prevention best practices and supports into the state’s ECE system.