Healthy Child Care Settings

Healthy Child Care Settings

In a twenty-year period, obesity rates among US infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children have approximately doubled. More than 1 in 5 US children ages 2 – 5 are overweight or obese. These statistics are especially alarming, considering that most overweight or obese preschoolers are 5 times for likely to become overweight or obese adults.

Child care settings play a key role in helping children establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime. All children deserve to grow, learn, and play in healthy environments that:

  • offer nutritious foods and establish healthy eating habits
  • provide safe and appropriate activities
  • support learning and proper brain development
  • establish healthy eating habits
  • strengthen motor skills and provide opportunities for physical activities

While parents, guardians, and families have tremendous influence in all these areas, many children spend most of their waking hours, eat more of their meals, and participate in more physical activity while cared for by someone other than their primary caregiver or parent. Consequently, child care providers have a major influence on children’s health.

Use ChangeLab Solutions’ resources on healthy child care settings to help your community promote the health of its youngest members. 


  • Understanding the Model Child Care Licensing Statute for Obesity Prevention: A fact sheet that presents a quick look at what a community can do to promote health in its youngest members. It also offers a snapshot of the options detailed in our Model Child Care Licensing Statute for Obesity Prevention.

  • Policies that Support Breastfeeding in Child Care Facilities: This chart, created in partnership with Child Care Aware, provides a scan of institutional and public policies that make it easier for mothers to continue breastfeeding while an infant is in regular child care. Good nutrition in child care settings includes ensuring that infants and mothers are encouraged to breastfeed. (Download below)

  • Funding the Fundamentals: A Primer on Early Care and Education Funding for Public Health Practitioners: A report developed to help public health advocates and educators gain a better understanding of the early care and education (ECE) financing landscape and the pressures faced by providers and regulators. It includes information about the regulatory framework for ECE programs, healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards linked to federal funding programs, and commonly used state funding mechanisms.

  • California Child Care Settings: This webinar provides an overview of the framework that governs child care settings and how communities can use this framework as well as other policy, systems and environmental (PSE) strategies to encourage physical activity and promote good nutrition in child care settings. 

  • Marketing Matters: This white paper provides strategies to reduce unhealthy food marketing to young children to help local jurisdictions understand how they can regulate the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to kids, particularly those under age five.