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Officials have plan to keep kids healthier at child care centers

DENVER – More than 8 percent of kids between the ages of 2 and 4 in Colorado are overweight. Health officials have a new plan to keep kids in child care centers healthier.

It begins with parents. Don’t be afraid to ask your child care provider about their nutrition and exercise program.

And the Colorado Department of Public Health is providing these great toolkits to child care centers. They include recipes, menus and even games to teach kids about nutrition.

The idea is to get all child care centers on board to give our kids the right start. Health experts say kids need meals with low-fat milk, fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein.

They also make sure to the sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

“Children in early childhood have a prime opportunity to shape their lifestyle habits in areas of being active and in nutrition,” said Tracy Miller of the Colorado Department of Public Health. “They’re shaping food choices and learning how to eat well.

The department also is offering “I Am Moving, I Am Learning” training for child care providers to increase the amount of exercise kids get.

Here are things we can all do at home to keep kids healthy: Provide at lease one serving of whole grains a day; limit processed and prefried meats to once a week; and limit fruit juice to two servings a week.

It’s a great way to make sure your child is getting a well-rounded and healthy experience with food so they can develop lifelong healthy habits.