More than 15 percent of toddlers between the ages of two and five are considered overweight, and Illinois officials are taking steps to combat this obesity threat with new daycare regulations.
According to the Rockford Register Star, officials with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have proposed removing chocolate milk, juice and other fatty, sugary snacks from the state’s daycare centers. It also forbids centers from rewarding children with food and letting the youngest children watch television.
The proposed changes were recommended by the Illinois Early Learning Council and are now being reviewed by a legislative panel. The changes are just the latest passed in recent years. Daycare centers are already required to feed children ages two and older milk that is either skim or 1 percent. Read more here.
“Early childhood obesity has been an organizational priority for us,” Kate Ritter, senior policy associate with Illinois Action for Children, told The State Journal-Register. “We realized the need for this based on the statistics of the number of children in Illinois under the age of five who were already obese before they enter school. We knew this was a good time to get this put into policy.”
“Research shows that children who drink flavored milk also drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, do not have higher intakes of added sugar or fat, and are just as likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who do not consume flavored milk,” Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council, said in July, questioning an opinion piece by two Harvard University professors.
Another study published earlier this year that toddlers who drink 1 percent and skim milk were at an increased risk of being overweight and obese. Read, “High-fat milk better for toddlers? Study says 'yes'.”