March is National Nutrition Month, an important time to recognize and celebrate alongside advocates and the community. Research shows that food and beverage choices are important factors for healthy growth and development, and maintaining good health and oral health. In partnership with the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition, we promote optimal health and oral health throughout the lifetime, but we know that health habits learned early on can lead to healthy choices in adulthood.
One of the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children 2020 legislative priorities related to nutrition – health standards in child care centers – completed the legislative process and was signed into law last March. Senate Bill 45 from 2020 ensures all children in Kentucky child care centers have access to healthy food and drinks, physical activity, and limited screen time.
We know that the advocacy work doesn’t stop when a bill makes it through the legislative process and becomes law. We continue to monitor and ensure regulation changes took place to support this law after passage in 2020. This month, we saw the full implementation of regulation changes in line with standards listed in the bill including:
- Aligning food and drink requirements with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns for all child care centers that serve food.
- Establishing standards for healthy drinks in child care centers to include water, unflavored low- or non-fat milk, and 100% fruit juice.
- Establishing limits on screen time to 30 minutes per day in half-day programs and 60 minutes per day in full-day programs, and no screen time for children under age 2.
- Requiring moderate to vigorous active play time for a minimum of 30 minutes per day in half-day programs and 60 minutes per day in full day programs; offering active play outside when weather permits it.
- Requiring short periods of tummy time each day for infants.
This month and beyond, we invite you to join us in practicing good nutrition habits with healthy food and drink choices to achieve optimal oral health and overall health for you and your family.