Who We Are

With inaugural funding from the William G. McGowan Fund, the American Heart Association and Nemours have joined forces to implement a national, science-based, early childhood technical assistance program to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by improving practices and policies in early childhood programs.

What We Do

With 60 percent of American children spending a majority of their day in early childhood programs, the goal of Healthy Way to Grow is to improve the ability of early childhood providers (serving children from birth to age 5) to improve and sustain nutrition, physical activity, screen time and infant feeding policies and practices.

Healthy Way to Grow program staff work directly with early childhood providers to improve center environments, engage families and develop/adopt a center wellness policy. They also encourage and recognize progress toward best practice goals for nutrition, physical activity, screen time and infant feeding. Healthy Way to Grow program objectives are to:

  • Engage early childhood programs to participate in Healthy Way to Grow, and provide them resources, tools and technical assistance to create or update a written center wellness policy.
  • Support early childhood programs in their ability to create Action Plans to implement their wellness policy with visible, measurable, sustainable actions and meet program criteria to promote nutrition, physical activity, screen time and infant feeding which also align with national best-practice guidelines, including Let’s Move! Child Care.
  • Help centers engage families through training, material provision and developing a plan for reaching parents/caregivers with healthy messages.
  • Recognize early childhood programs that meet Healthy Way to Grow criteria.
  • Enable early childhood programs to track and monitor their overall progress toward sustainable implementation of best practices and policies.
  • Conduct a robust program evaluation to measure how the program affected the center and its children.