SDE: Action Guide for Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

Action Guide for Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

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The Action Guide for Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies is intended to help local and community child care, early education and afterschool programs establish and implement policies and practices that encourage healthy lifestyles in children. The goal of these policies and practices is to create an environment that consistently supports children’s health and learning by:

  • providing clear and consistent messages that explain and reinforce healthy eating and physical activity habits;
  • helping children learn to make healthy lifestyle choices;
  • providing developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant nutrition education;
  • providing quality physical education and daily opportunities for developmentally appropriate physical activity; and
  • supporting and engaging families in promoting healthy habits.

The action guide includes best practices for promoting healthy eating and physical activity for children in child care from infancy through school age, based on current science, public health research, and national recommendations and standards. It can be used in a variety of settings, including Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) facilities (centers, family day care homes, at-risk afterschool centers and emergency shelters); Head Start centers; School Readiness programs; child care programs; early care and education programs; licensed centers; school-based preschool programs; and afterschool programs. It can also be used by sponsoring agencies, community organizations, local early childhood coordinating councils, municipalities and other groups interested in improving nutrition and physical activity practices in child care and education settings.

NOTE: Since the June 2010 publication of the action guide, the nutrition standard for saturated fat has changed from "no more than 10 percent of calories" to "less than 10 percent of calories" to reflect the more recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in December 2010 and December 2015. In the online version of the action guide, this information has been updated in appendices C (Connecticut Child Care Nutrition Standards) and E (Evaluating Products for Compliance with the CCCNS). If you are using a hard copy of the action guide, please make this correction.


  Download Entire Action Guide
  • Commissioner's Letter  [PDF]
  • Action Guide  [PDF]

  Download Action Guide by Sections
  • Cover, Contents, Preface, Acknowledgments and Acronyms  [PDF]
  • 1 — How to Use This Guide  [PDF]
  • 2 — Introduction [PDF]
  • 3 — Eight Steps for Creating Local Policy  [PDF]
  • 4 — Nutrition Standards  [PDF]
  • 5 — Eating Environment  [PDF]
  • 6 — Nutrition Education [PDF]
  • 7 — Physical Activity [PDF]
  • 8 — Communication and Promotion  [PDF]
  • 9 — Evaluation  [PDF]
  • 10 — Resources  [PDF]
  • References  [PDF]
  • Appendices
    • A — CACFP Meal Pattern for Children  [PDF]
    • B — CACFP Infant Meal Pattern  [PDF]
    • C — Connecticut Child Care Nutrition Standards  [PDF]
    • D — How to Read a Food Label  [PDF]
    • E — Evaluating Products for Compliance with the CCCNS  [PDF]
    • F — Ideas for Healthy Celebrations and Events  [PDF]
    • G — Physical Activity Guidelines for Children from Birth to Age 5  [PDF]
    • H — Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Adolescents (Ages 6-17)  [PDF]
  • Glossary and Back Cover  [PDF]

For more resources, review the CSDE's Nutrition Resources and Healthy School Environment Resources.
CONTACT:  Susan S. Fiore, M.S., R.D. at or 860-807-2075
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education • Child Nutrition Programs
25 Industrial Park Road, Middletown, CT 06457
Telephone: 860-807-2050 • Fax: 860-807-2127

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Content Last Modified on 4/27/2016 8:06:28 AM