michelle-obama_web_copy.jpgTALLAHASSEE – To recognize National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM) in September, the Florida Office of Child Care Regulation encouraged Florida’s child care providers and the children they care for to get moving for 15 minutes as a part of the P.R.E.V.E.N.T. Obesity COAM Challenge.

Schools submitted videos and photos of their class’s activities, which have been compiled on the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) YouTube channel: youtu.be/oWK7xTuOnZY “It is important for children to develop healthy habits early in life, said DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo. “Kids love to play onthe the playground, dance, jump, skip and twirl. We need to encourage their energy to ‘get moving’!”

With obesity-related problems affecting the health and future of Florida’s children, DCF started a new program in 2012 to provide resources and training to childcare providers and families across the state to help prevent childhood obesity.

The PREVENT Obesity initiative Provides Resources, Evidence, Valuable Education and Training to reach facilities and homes throughout the state of Florida.

“Kids respond to positive messages about healthy eating and active living,” said state Surgeon General and Secretary of Health John Armstrong. “I support DCF’s initiative and see PREVENT as another critical partner in HealthiestWeightFL.com’s success.”

The mission of the PREVENT Obesity initiative is to be a catalyst in the fight against childhood obesity by ensuring childcare providers are equipped with quality education, best practices and tools in the three proven areas directly linked to obesity prevention: nutrition, physical activity and limiting screen time.

Tips include portion and nutritional information, sample menus and alternative activities to screen time. In a statement, President Barack Obama said the special month was aimed at making Americans aware of his and first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity efforts, noting that Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is on the front lines in the fight against childhood obesity.

“With partners across the public and private sectors and through targeted programs, this comprehensive campaign aims to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation,” the president’s office said. “Let’s Move! is dedicated to making nutritious food more available and affordable, helping kids get active, and fostering environments that support healthy choices.

“To this end, the initiative is always looking for new ways to engage parents, families, kids and communities.”

Florida child care teachers and students get moving to PREVENT obesity