The percentage of obese children in Nevada is rising, and nearly one-third of children entering kindergarten are considered overweight or obese. To help teachers and parents teach healthy habits to children before age 5, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension recently launched the Healthy Kids Resource Center website.
The website, created in partnership with the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's Nevada Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Work Group, was built as part of the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention State Plan to improve children's physical activity and nutrition.
"Cooperative Extension is partnering with the state effort to address this issue because teaching children lifestyle behaviors related to physical activity and nutrition at an early age is critical for preventing health issues and promoting long, healthy lives," said Public Health and Exercise Physiology Specialist Anne Lindsay, with Cooperative Extension.
The website offers evidence-based research, resources, curricula, activities and materials that focus on obesity prevention. Key features of the site are "toolboxes," resource collections related to a specific area of health. The first toolbox is the Physical Activity Toolbox, created in response to the passing of Assembly Bill 152, which created a set of physical fitness standards Nevada's licensed child care facilities are required to meet.
"We did the Physical Activity Toolbox first because our goal is to provide resources to help the child care facilities have indoor and outdoor activities that meet the standards of the new law," said Healthy Kids Early Start Program Manager Susan Taylor, also with Cooperative Extension.
Lindsay and Taylor plan to add a Nutrition Toolbox and Body Image Toolbox to the site as well.
Other sections of the site include a teacher section with resources for use in a classroom, and a parent's section with resources for families to use together at home. Resources in each section include fact sheets, activities, videos, music and dances. The website also provides information on health legislation and best practices, statewide programming efforts, upcoming community health events for children, and ways to contact community partners.
The Healthy Kids Resource Center is funded by Clark County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education Program. Visit the Healthy Kids Resoucrce Center website or call 702-940-KIDS (5437) for more information.