Florida’s Healthy Environments for Reducing Obesity (HEROs) is focused on recognizing and awarding early care and education (ECE) programs for meeting benchmarks related to obesity prevention. This program was started in 2018 by the Florida Department of Health through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Today, this work is continued by the Health Council of Southeast Florida through funding from Nemours Children’s Health System.
The goal of Florida’s HEROs is to encourage ECE providers to take proactive, voluntary steps to improve their practices and policies related to healthy behaviors to support the children and families they serve. This is achieved through the integration of best practices for promoting a healthy weight among children ages 0 to 5 years. The Florida’s HEROs best practices are based on the Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, Second Edition (CFOC, 2nd Ed.).
Florida’s HEROs promote and encourage the following best practices:
The Child Care Food Program at the Florida Department of Health
Nationally, the program is known as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), but in Florida the Child Care Food Program (CCFP) and Adult Care Food Program (ACFP) are governed by two different organizations. The CCFP is under the Florida Department of Health and the ACFP is under the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. As of December of 2019, 2,083 contractors and 6,982 sites (including daycare homes and child care centers) participate in the CCFP. In Federal Fiscal Year 2019, the CCFP reimbursed 160,675,882 meals to approximately 317,000 Florida children each day. In addition to meal reimbursement, the CCFP also offers and promotes in-person and web-based education regarding best practices in child care to expand child care providers’ knowledge of healthy eating practices, physical activity, breastfeeding, and reduced screen time.
Florida’s HEROs Stakeholder Committee is a group of diverse partners committed to obesity prevention in ECE settings. The goal of the stakeholder committee is to guide the development and expansion of the Florida’s HEROs statewide ECE recognition program, in order to promote a healthy weight among children ages 0-5 in Florida. In addition, this committee steers our efforts to integrate childhood obesity prevention best practices and supports into Florida’s ECE system. The foundation for the stakeholder committee’s success is strong partnerships among diverse local, regional, and state-level stakeholders. We are always looking to build new relationships with organizations doing work across Florida’s ECE system related to any of the best practice areas. For more information, please contact [email protected].