Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Early Care and Education (Early Childhood) Initiatives

Listed below are information and references to address physical activity and nutrition in the child care setting.

The health and well-being of Wisconsin's children are directly related to the development and strengthening of their large and small muscles, involvement in sensory experiences, and practicing of healthy behavior. The Department of Health Services, Nutrition and Physical Activity Obesity Prevention Program supports the developmental expectation that children in Wisconsin will be physically healthy and will be able to effectively care for their own physical needs. This site contains information and tools to support child care, preschool, Head Start, early childhood special education and kindergarten programs for four- and five-year-olds to provide developmentally appropriate, increasingly complex and diverse opportunities for children to understand and care for their physical well-being.

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See what's in the 2013-2018 Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity State Plan for Early Care and Education.

What Works in Active Out-of-School Time is a complementary resource to the Early Care document above. The resource is a two-page summary of evidence-based and promising strategies that focus on helping preschool children and after school children be more active in this setting.

The Active Early, Active Out-of-School Time, and Healthy Bites resource kits have been designed to provide resources for providers, parents, and educators to use in efforts to reduce childhood obesity and children's risk for developing obesity by encouraging a healthy early care and education environment through targeting providers, parents and educators in Wisconsin. The resource kits are designed to provide low-cost and no-cost strategies and resources to providers, parents, and educators to promote physical activity and good nutrition in early childhood. They also seek to educate providers, parents, and educators about the importance of healthy living to support positive role modeling and individual wellness.

Active Early

Active Early – Complete Resource Kit, P-00280 (English and Spanish) (PDF)

This kit focuses primarily on physical activity and has been developed to support a healthier environment for children in the early care and education setting.

Links to specific chapters:


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Healthy Bites – Complete Resource Kit (PDF)

This kit focuses primarily on nutrition and has been developed to support a healthier environment for children in the early care and education setting.

A Spanish version is also available. (PDF)

Active Out-of-School time. A Wisconsin guide to improving childhood physical activity for school age children

Active Out-of-School Time (PDF)


This kit focuses primarily on physical activity and has been developed to support a healthier environment for children in the early care and education setting.


Assessment Tool List

  • Self-Assessment Instrument – Links to a log-in for NAPSACC resources, including a self-assessment checklist for child care providers to see what the child care setting is currently providing for nutrition and physical activity strategies.

Materials for Implementation

  • Got Dirt? – A program designed to assist with the implementation of school, community, and child care gardens.

  • Got Veggies? – A garden-based nutrition education curriculum created with the goal of getting children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Got Veggies? features seven full lesson plans that are aligned with Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Nutrition, Health, Science, and other related subjects.  A series of shorter garden-based activities is also included, as well as fun recipes and helpful tips for cooking and eating in the garden. This curriculum provides an all-around great way to nurture students’ interest in growing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables!

Evaluation Tools

See the Active Early and Healthy Bites resources for evaluation materials.

Related Tools

  • YoungStar – A program of the Department of Children and Families created to improve the quality of child care for Wisconsin children by evaluating and rating the quality of care given by child care providers.
  • Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies – In this report, the National Academy of Sciences: Health and Medicine Division recommends actions that health care professionals, caregivers, and policymakers can take to prevent obesity in children age five and younger.
  • Ten Steps to Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care Centers, P-00022 (English and Spanish) (PDF) – A resource kit to assist child care providers and community groups to implement strategies to promote, protect and support breastfeeding women.
Last Revised: April 7, 2021