The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) programs in Cottonwood, Jackson, Faribault, Martin and Watonwan counties are working to reduce obesity among children by increasing physical activity, encouraging better nutrition and reducing screen time. In partnership with SHIP, WIC will be distributing activity kits to promote physical activity. The program is modeled after the evidence based curriculum programs that address childhood obesity- I Am Moving, I Am Learning (IMIL) and Learning about Nutrition through Activity (LANA). WIC nurses will distribute a series of four activity kits on a quarterly basis to families with children ages 3-4 years old. The kits contain resources and tools for children to be more physically active and to help parents find creative, innovative and low-cost ways to be active with their children. Some of the tools and resources included are refrigerator magnets with a list of parks, pools, playgrounds and Community Ed and Recreation (CER) programs in their county, a narrated music CD called “Music Moves Me”, parent brochures to combat common food dilemmas, brochures that offer creative and imaginative play ideas, as well as some tools to engage children in play, such as sidewalk chalk, ribbon wands, beach balls and rhythm sticks.
The goal of the initiative is to encourage children to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and to reduce sedentary behaviors and screen time among 3-4 year olds. WIC hopes that the physical activity will begin to create behavior change among families and children at an early age. By encouraging families with small children to build the foundation for an active lifestyle, children will reduce their risk for chronic disease and eliminate risk factors that contribute to chronic disease. Research shows the earlier physical activity is established with kids, the larger the impact on curbing obesity. WIC is just one step in the comprehensive plan to influence physical activity and health eating among children. Children will also be exposed to IMIL and LANA through childcare, and also be influenced to be physically active and eat well after starting Kindergarten through SHIP at School strategies!