Contributed by the office of Luis Alejo:
Assembly Bill 290 authored by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (whose district includes Gilroy) to require incoming childcare providers to take one hour of early childhood nutrition as a part of the licensing process passed in the Assembly Human Services Committee Tuesday with bipartisan support by a 7-0 vote.
“With nearly 25 percent of preschool-aged children overweight or obese, thousands of California’s youngest residents face a lifetime of health challenges,” said Alejo. “California's licensing laws should prioritize nutrition training for child care providers as a reasonable and necessary means of supporting good nutrition habits. This bill will require licensed child care providers to learn about the importance of healthy meals and snacks, cost-effective strategies, and age-appropriate meal patterns and serving sizes.”
AB 290 addresses the lack of child care provider nutrition training requirements in California. Unlike many other states, California has not yet adjusted child care licensing laws to reflect the urgent need for healthy nutrition in child care settings. A growing body of research shows that training for child care providers can improve the quality of early childhood programs. As demonstrated in other states, prioritizing nutrition training for providers both improves the quality of care and is widely supported by the early care and education workforce.
"We are pleased the Assembly Human Services committee recognized the merits of this bill,” said Elyse Homel Vitale, a Nutrition Policy Advocate with California Food Policy Advocates, sponsors of the bill. “This brings us one step closer to healthy nutrition for all children in child care."
Raquel Leon, a site director for Child Development Inc, also spoke in support of the bill.
“As teachers, it is important to know the significance of healthy eating,” said Leon. “At the end of the day when children leave for the night it is reassuring to know they are leaving with a healthy full tummy. This bill is crucial for the education and healthy living of California children.”
AB 290 is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.