Promising Policies for Early Obesity Prevention
- Current Pediatrics Reports
Authors: Anna Ayers Looby, Natasha Frost
Publisher: Springer US
Purpose of Review
This paper aims to highlight policy approaches for obesity prevention in early childhood while also discussing the opportunities for efforts to consider social determinants of health as a core tenet to child investments.
Efforts to increase access to healthy food, active play, and reduced screen time have been seen through child care licensing regulations, Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS), and federal funding streams; a recent case study of the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) shows how the impact of these efforts can be augmented if they are community-driven and paired with proper support.
It is imperative to employ a health equity lens to policies for early obesity prevention—an approach that will benefit all children. National efforts have focused on improving health in the child care environment. This article discusses three main policy levers to impact obesity in early childhood, specifically through child care: main funding streams, Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS), and child care licensing regulations. These efforts, coupled with a holistic view of health outside of the child care setting, will best support children’s physical and emotional well-being, promote whole-child development, and address fundamental social determinants of health. Lastly, the article discusses unintended consequences that can arise from some of these approaches.