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Promoting Healthy Eating and Activity Habits in Children Is the Topic of WSU Research Webinar

PULLMAN, Wash. – The promotion of healthy weight in children is the topic of “Research Working for You,” a webinar slated for Oct. 6, 2010 at 10 a.m. The webinar can be accessed at http://breeze.wsu.edu/research_that_works_for_you/, which will lead to a login page that will allow you to log in as a guest.

The webinar is based on research conducted by Jane Lanigan, assistant professor of human development at Washington State University, Vancouver. Lanigan’s research resulted in ENHANCE, Encouraging Healthy Activity and Nutrition in Childcare Environments. ENHANCE is a community-based program with the goal of promoting healthy weight in children, and was funded by Kaiser Permanente Community Health Foundation. ENHANCE takes a non-prescriptive approach to implement change in the childcare environment, curriculum, provider training, family/provider communication, and improve resource awareness to promote healthier child weight.

Lanigan said ENHANCE started as a pilot project in which several different sources from the learning community came together to address the issue of child obesity in Clark County. The original goal of ENHANCE was to examine current practices of feeding, activity, and media and how they related to child obesity in order to find better practices that could be taught and applied, she said.

The project involved 115 early childhood educators from 45 classrooms in numerous child care settings including: Head Start, College lab schools, for-profit centers, community-based not-for-profit centers, family home child care, and centers that serve children with special needs.

Lanigan said the driving force behind ENHANCE was the “growing awareness of child obesity nationwide.” She said child obesity awareness is prevalent in public school settings rather than in early childhood, but early childhood is when eating and activity habits are formed in most children.

The “Research Working for You” webinar will demonstrate the process of the project including the components, challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned from ENHANCE. A question-and-answer session will follow.

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