National group takes pointers from Boise workshop

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A local workshop series is becoming a model for other communities working to battle childhood obesity.

About three dozen child care providers from across the Treasure Valley participated in a "Let's Move Child Care" workshop Saturday in Boise. At several points during the six-hour session, participants had to get out of their seats.

"We get the providers up and moving," said Rebecca Lemmons, policy analyst for Central District Health Department. "And we literally have them playing and doing the things that we would want them to do with the children, and we're really reinforcing that physical activity can be built-in in easy, natural ways throughout the day."

Nutrition was another topic for the participants who work with kids from birth to age 5.

Karla Seal, a Meridian child care provider, said she has already helped make changes at her school after attending a similar workshop a month ago.

"We got rid of hash browns, hot dogs, tater tots. We're going to start serving more fresh snacks, vegetables, fruits instead of the canned and the processed foods."

Tracy Wiedt, program manager for the Washington, D.C.-based National League of Cities, also attended the training. She said one of the reasons for her trip to Boise was because the city could "without a doubt" be a model for others.

A county in Georgia is one place that wants to know more about how child care providers in the Treasure Valley are establishing healthy habits at a young age.

"(Wiedt is) here observing Boise because we are one of the first cities in the nation to implement comprehensive child care provider trainings free of cost to the providers to try to improve healthy eating and active living with our young children," Lemmons said.

The National League of Cities ranks Boise as number five of more than 400 cities for keeping kids active and eating right.

The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is one of the groups involved in the training, which is funded through various partnerships, another aspect Wiedt is learning about and taking back to D.C.