North Carolina is engaging communities to increase the number of children starting kindergarten at a healthy weight.
Shape NC is a $6 million, six-year initiative that partners with child care programs and families to promote healthy eating and active play among children birth to five. Child care providers participating in the program receive education and technical assistance related to nutrition, physical activity, and engaging outdoor learning environments. Programs that have successfully implemented the initiative’s best practices and policies serve as demonstration sites so new participants can see firsthand what can be accomplished. There are currently more than 200 child care sites participating in the program, impacting over 10,000 children. An evaluation of Shape NC found that child care providers are making improvements, such as providing more active play, offering fruit and vegetables multiple times a day, and creating gardens onsite. More importantly, preliminary trends show that the percent of children who reach a healthy weight in participating communities is gradually improving. Shape NC is a partnership of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and the North Carolina Partnership for Children (Smart Start).