Healthy habits must start early

That’s why ensuring the more than one million Australian children who attend childcare have access to healthy food is so vital.

Research has shown that a lack of nutritious food can hinder children’s physical, social and emotional development.

We also know that the almost one in five children that are currently overweight or obese face a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease as adults.

Childcare centres are therefore the perfect settings to encourage good eating habits in children which will help them lead healthier lives as adults.

We interviewed 50 early-years educators across WA and they identified the challenges they face in trying to provide healthy, nutritious food in their centres.

Children’s food preferences, parental influences and a lack of accessible, accurate nutrition information make it hard for early-years educators to promote healthy eating to children in their care.

Some early-years educators also said they lacked the confidence to teach the nutrition concepts in their centres.

This valuable feedback has been used to develop a new website to help educators improve the nutritional quality of the food served in their centres.

The Supporting Nutrition in Australian Childcare website provides reliable, accurate resources about healthy eating as well as online discussions and activities aimed at giving early-years educators the confidence to teach and discuss nutrition concepts.

By helping early-years educators to provide and promote a healthy eating environment at the childcare centres, we can help the children in their care live longer, healthier lives.

For more information or to get involved, visit snacwa.com.au.