Go NapSACC awarded $3M NIH grant to improve healthy eating and activity practices in child care programs

October 3, 2018

The Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group, based at the at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has partnered with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to help young children have a healthy start to life.

A four-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will support a randomized control study to understand the most effective strategies for ensuring the adoption of healthy eating and physical activity practices by child care programs. The grant will bring Go NAPSACC, an evidence-based program developed at UNC, to child care providers in Kentucky to help them adopt the healthy eating and activity practices.

Dr. Dianne Ward

Dr. Dianne Ward

Dianne Stanton Ward, EdD, professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is director of the Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group. She was principal investigator of the project that led to the development and evaluation of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC), a policy and environmental intervention highly regarded in the public health community and used by many states to support healthy eating and physical activity in young children.

“From the past decade of research, we know that Go NAPSACC can reduce the body mass index (BMI) of young children,” said Ward. “This study will allow us to test strategies that technical assistance professionals can use to maximize the program’s impact.”

Child care programs are an ideal environment for teaching young children the skills they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“Kentucky has the sixth highest rate of obesity in the U.S.,” said Elaine Russell, MS, RD, obesity prevention program coordinator at the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH). “Evidenced-based solutions such as Go NAPSACC will reinforce our state’s efforts to improve the quality of child care and give children a healthy start to life.”

The Kentucky DPH will be a key partner in the study as they will provide an existing network of technical assistance professionals across Kentucky to guide child care providers through the Go NAPSACC program.


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Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@listserv.unc.edu.

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