Journal Issue: Childhood Obesity Volume 16 Number 1 Spring 2006
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among American children has been increasing at an alarming rate. Among preschool children aged two to five, overweight has doubled over the past thirty years. Almost one in every four preschoolers is either overweight or at risk of overweight.1 Prevalence rates are highest among African American, Hispanic, and Native American preschoolers.
Of the nation's 21 million preschool children, 13 million spend a substantial part of their day in child care facilities.2 Although much has been written on the role of schools in obesity prevention, surprisingly little has been written on how child care settings can help combat childhood obesity. With so many preschool children in attendance, child care settings can be a major force in shaping children's dietary intake, physical activity, and energy balance.