Introduction In addition, children count on adults to provide good models of healthy habits. As children
grow and learn, they take cues from the adults around them. When adults, including caregivers
and family members, model healthy habits, children are much more likely to incorporate these
habits into their own behaviors.
What Is Healthy Children, Healthy Lives?
What is Healthy Children, Healthy Lives? It’s simple, really. Healthy Children, Healthy Lives is a
comprehensive resource for early childhood professionals that provides information and guid-
ance on topics related to children’s wellness. We use the term wellness because Healthy Children,
Healthy Lives doesn’t focus only on the absence of health problems; it also focuses on the presence
of good health—both physical and emotional—and preventative practices. For instance, when we
discuss physical fitness, we don’t just cover ways to ensure children participate in physical activity
so they don’t become overweight. We also present activities that promote a love of physical activ-
ity and the lifelong habits that will help them remain physically active. When children remain
physically active during their lifetimes, their bodies and brains function well.
Numerous programs to improve children’s health are popping up all over the country, and
excellent resources abound: Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance
Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs addresses children’s health issues,
such as injury and illness prevention and safety practices. Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign
and Sesame Street’s Healthy Habits for Life initiative focus on children’s nutrition and physi-
cal activity. The Strengthening Families Program and the Center on the Social and Emotional
Foundations for Early Learning support families and the social and emotional development of
young children. We applaud these programs and resources, because it certainly will take more
than one voice to improve children’s health nationally. We also know how many books and bind-
ers sit atop an early childhood professional’s shelf and how precious your time is. To make it as
easy as possible for you to commit to improving all aspects of young children’s wellness, Healthy
Children, Healthy Lives collects and combines information about and guidance on a broad but
pertinent range of wellness topics into just one book. Then it expands on the information and
guidance by providing detailed, actionable steps. Through its many checklists and the action plan,
Healthy Children, Healthy Lives provides a way for you to assess your program’s wellness policies
and practices and identify immediate and manageable ways to improve them.
Scope There is no doubt about it: Healthy Children, Healthy Lives covers a lot of territory, from nutri-
tion education and illness prevention to leadership practices that minimize caregiver stress.
Wellness is a big topic, and we believe that addressing it in an all-embracing way is the only way
to ensure sustainable results—or, in other words, to get children healthy! The scope of Healthy
Children, Healthy Lives is broad, and it was sometimes challenging to exclude topics we believe are
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