Here is a press release from Smart Start of Buncombe County:
The YWCA Child Care Center was recently selected to participate in a childhood obesity prevention program called Preventing Obesity by Design (POD), an initiative funded by BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of North Carolina. The long-term goal of the POD project is to reverse the trend toward childhood obesity by improving the quality of outdoor space in child care settings and providing teacher education to support children’s physical activity outdoors and healthy eating.
Buncombe County is one of 10 counties across the state chosen to participate in POD. In FY 2007-2008, 17.5% of children ages 2-4 in Buncombe County were considered to be extremely overweight. Locally, the grant is being facilitated by the Smart Start funded Child Care Quality Enhancement Project.
The YWCA Child Care Center will be working under the direction of the Child Care Quality Enhancement team and will become a future demonstration site for other child care programs in the area. The child care center is a four-star rated program and serves approximately 52 children, six weeks to five years of age. Staff members at the YWCA Child Care Center are making a long term commitment to improve their outdoor space by incorporating more natural elements and providing a sensory rich experience for young children. They will participate in training to learn how to actively and safely engage children of all abilities with the natural playscape, and by enhancing the meals and snacks they provide the young children they serve.
Two additional child care programs will be identified in Buncombe County to participate in POD in June 2010. Statewide, the POD project will provide services to 30 programs. POD is coordinated by The Natural Learning Initiative at NC State University and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.