[to top of second column]
As of last January, Benjamin found Idaho and Louisiana with the fewest such requirements and Delaware, Georgia, Alaska and Nevada with the most.
Among Benjamin's most disappointing findings: Parents may describe this as the age of ants-in-the-pants, yet an average day included less than an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Her team visited one Rhode Island day care last fall where the kids didn't get to run around at all when it rained.
Most states merely require that children "be active throughout the day. What does that mean?" she asked the recent Nemours meeting.
Massachusetts last summer imposed a 60-minute activity rule. Now Benjamin's team is testing how day cares implement that change.
Training providers is key, says Nemours' Chang. Many simply don't know, for instance, that whole milk is unnecessary extra fat for preschoolers while low-fat costs the same.
How much should a preschooler eat? An easy-to-use Web site gives specifics: http://www.mypyramid.gov/preschoolers/. Generally, a preschool serving size is about 1 tablespoon of each food type for every year of age. Proper portion sizes were a surprise to Maria Matos, who bought serving spoons pre-measured for preschoolers so they can dip while teachers tell how a colorful plate is a healthy plate.
Matos says the changes cost a bit more; she hired an extra part-time cook to make more from scratch, and fresh foods can cost more than processed. Chang and Wootan say day cares can make many cheap changes -- swapping water for juice, for instance. But it's an issue that Nemours is pushing Congress to tackle as it reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act later this year, which helps fund food at low-income day cares.
Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor