NH DHHS - Preschool Children Eat Better and Move More with Help from NAP SACC

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Celebrates National Public Health Week

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) is using NAP SACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self Assessment in Child Care) as a tool to promote policies that improve food choices and increase daily physical activity. The OPP provided NAP SACC consultants to 12 child care programs to improve nutrition and physical activity for preschool children. Each consultant worked individually with programs to help them decide what policies they wanted to work on. A total of 34 nutrition and physical activity policies were created.

One child care program implemented changes to increase physical activity by including physical activity into art, music, and reading. Another began serving more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. “We know that children form taste and physical activity preferences early in life, so intervening at the preschool age makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Obesity data for preschool children show that nearly one out of three preschoolers in New Hampshire is overweight or obese and we need to change that.”

NAP SACC improvements are currently reaching 721 children enrolled in the 12 programs that have completed the self-assessment. If these policies are maintained it is estimated that in five years over 3,000 children will have benefited. In addition, NAP SACC allows for programs to reassess and improve policies or create policies in an area they have not addressed in the past.

The OPP is one of 25 state programs funded for obesity prevention by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The OPP is part of a consortium of organizations implementing the State Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) plan. OPP is funded by a five-year cooperative agreement with the CDC.

These recommendations are one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to www.nphw.org

For more information about preventing obesity in your community, contact us at 603-271-4551 or visit the program website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/obesity.htm.