The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is partnering with The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. to combat childhood obesity—Shape NC. This three-year, $3 million effort partnership is a groundbreaking initiative that will tackle childhood obesity by focusing on young children from birth through age 5.
What is Shape NC?
Shape NC will build on the Smart Start network to create a cadre of early childhood health and wellness champions among state and local leaders and the professionals working with young children and families, and; ensure that children attending child care programs are served nutritious foods, engage in physical activity, and have teachers modeling healthy behaviors.
Distinguishing Characteristics of Shape NC
Shape NC embodies three distinct features that together make it a promising strategy for early childhood obesity prevention. The project:
- Begins early. Most childhood obesity prevention projects target school-age children. Shape NC will work with young children from birth to age five as part of the local Smart Start network.
- Relies on research. Shape NC integrates multiple research-based models to provide an in-depth approach to childhood obesity prevention. It combines an evidence-based program to increase nutrition and physical activity practices with an effort to create outdoor learning environments for children attending child care centers. It relies on North Carolina’s proven early childhood system, Smart Start as its service delivery model. And it taps into Smart Start’s work with Child Care Health Consultants, Parents as Teachers educators, and other service providers.
- Mobilizes communities. NC Shape asks communities to commit to the goal of reducing childhood obesity and puts someone on the ground in each community to facilitate. Communities will create their own early childhood obesity prevention action plans that include broad-based stakeholder engagement.