Helping Educators Address an Obesity Epidemic

Current obesity research makes it clear that there is a need for change in the early learning field, where about one in every three of our children will be overweight or obese in their life time (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, Lamb, & Flegal, 2010).  Early learners in full time care from age one to five will receive 1000 meals and 2000 snacks in their four years, and will learn from each meal and snack.  As educators in the midst of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers we need to think about obesity prevention (Maziak, Ward, & Stockton, March 2007).  “The target of obesity prevention should be all children, starting at birth” (Barlow, 2007, p. S171).  As educators we can choose to give the children in our programs knowledge that will help them live healthier lives—we have the opportunity to prevent obesity.

The challenge for educators and parents ...

10 Best Ways that Educators and Families Can
Give Children the Life Skill of Healthy Eating

  1. Write and implement a Nutrition Policy.
  2. Create a food committee of families, teachers, administrators, and community members to help support this process.
  3. Implement nutrient-dense menus.
  4. Build food links by putting a faces on your food; bring the school garden and farmers into the classroom.
  5. Make literature links to the farmers, farms, and orchards where food is grown.
  6. Create food rituals in the classroom.
  7. Cook nutrient-dense foods with children.
  8. Foster taste memories for your young learners by eating locally and seasonally.
  9. Offer opportunities for larger community involvement with families, cooking with children in the classroom or holding their own cooking classes to learn about healthy foods.
  10. Build a larger community by becoming a Community Supported Agriculture drop off location.

Chef Katrina can help




  1. Barlow, S. E. (2007). Expert Committee Recommendations Regarding the Prevention, Assessment, and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: Summary Report. Pediatrics , S164-S192.
  2. Maziak, W., Ward, K. D., & Stockton, M. B. (March 2007). Childhood obesity: are we missing the big picture? Obesity Reviews .
  3. Ogden, C., Carroll, M., Curtin, L. R., Lamb, M. M., & Flegal, K. M. (2010). Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. Journal of the American Medical Association , 242-249.