Alejo Speaks out about Childhood Obesity

Assemblymember Luis Alejo introduced a bill that would require child caretakers to be versed in nutrition.

A new bill proposed by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, whose 30th District includes Watsonville, would require childcare providers to take an hour course in early childhood nutrition.

AB 290, the bill is called, will be heard sometime after March 11 in a California State Assembly policy committee meeting.

“With nearly 25 percent of preschool-aged children overweight or obese, thousands of California’s youngest residents face a lifetime of health challenges,” Alejo said. “California's licensing laws should prioritize nutrition training for child care providers as a reasonable and necessary means of supporting good nutrition habits. This bill will require licensed childcare providers to learn about the importance of healthy meals and snacks, cost-effective strategies, and age-appropriate meal patterns and serving sizes.”

In 2004, Santa Cruz County was in the top 10 for childhood obesity incidence in the whole state of California, according to California Convergence.

"California Food Policy Advocates is excited to continue working with Assemblymember Alejo on the important issues of early childhood obesity and nutrition,” said Elyse Homel Vitale of California Food Policy Advocates, sponsors of the bill. “We know through research that early childhood is when taste preferences and eating habits are formed. Through increased nutrition education for early childhood educators, AB 290 supports opportunities for providers to serve healthy foods at a lower cost."

Do you think this bill is smart? What other ways can we decrease childhood obesity? Tell us in the comments!

Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Sylvia, you wrote: ""@Eve: "... the question in my mind is does it make sense not to make an effort to educate educators until such time as all parents are totally educated?..." I did not say anything about waiting until all parents are totally educated. What I said, as you can easily see by simply scrolling back, is "To require child care providers to take an hour course in nutrition without requiring at least as much from parents is self-defeating." Key words? "At least as much". Perfect is the enemy of good as pertains to learning to write one's name or learning to draw horses while in 1st grade. My mother also used that phrase, as she attempted to tell me not to be too hard on myself, rather to be happy with my progress as I did my very best. I don't see how that applies to requiring child care providers to take a course in nutrition but not requiring the same of parents. As for issues surrounding making smart eating choices....If you know you should not, but you 'just might later', IMO <--key words :), you simply lack will power, and/or failed to stick to a decision you 'sorta made'."
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:24 PM
@Sylvia I saw your comment go through, but it's not showing above. In any case, the state can legislate what early childhood educators learn b/c they are licensed. But parents are, of course, not. So my thinking is why not teach educators about nutrition because that will help some children. ~Eve
randy February 14, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Just a curious question? Who will foot the bill for the training? Does the child care centers have to pay? Another thing I wonder about is this. I remember several child care centers that are funded with government funds for low income have had to close because funding was not available. Who pays for the food at these places? I have a grand daughter going to a day care that her parents pay for. She takes a lunch every day. The lunch is not included in the fee. Just curious about this. I have 10 grands. When they come .. not all at the same time haha .. I always have fruit or a snack that isn't high in sugar. Several reasons, it is cheaper and healthier.. AND if I gave them sweets, they get hyper .. which is something that Mom and Dad frowns on. Eve.. have a good idea on GS cookies for you. Saves you grief haha. Pay for the cookies but designate them to be sent to our armed forces. Yes, girls scouts does this.
Cathy P. February 14, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Licensing fees for day care providers will be increased to pay for this.
Cathy P. February 14, 2013 at 05:07 PM
This is another attempt by Mr. Assemblyman to fleece California taxpayers! Legally licensed day care providers already have many, many hoops to jump through to get and stay licensed: pediatric CPR training, health & safety courses, sanitation training, etc., and the fees they pay for this priviledge are already outrageous. When considering a legally licensed day care provider, intelligent parents visit the facility and ask questions, including what type of food and snacks are provided. If you don't like the food options, don't put your child there. Legally licensed day care providers aren't the problem. It's the ones who set up shop without a license and provide educational programs that consist of cartoons on TV; recreational programs that consist of video games; and snacks that consist of Twinkies and soda pop. Unfortunately AB 290 will not address the issue of unlicensed facilities, only drive up costs for both legally licensed providers and parents who want the best for their children.


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