Childhood Obesity: Nutrition

Early Childhood Nutrition Standards

Children establish dietary habits in early childhood that they carry over into adulthood. According to Healthy People 2020, “Early childhood (usually defined as birth to year 8) is a time of tremendous physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, and language development.” Mini-grant funding will be used to purchase items that directly support healthy changes and enhancements to the nutritional environment, promoting a culture of health for the children served. In partnership with early childcare centers in the Near Westside and Northside neighborhoods of Syracuse, the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) will support providers in the development and adoption of nutrition policies that create sustainable changes and have a long lasting impact.

Access to Healthy Foods

In order to address issues around access to healthy foods in high-needs neighborhoods, OCHD will work with select local corner and small retail stores, and other community partners in the food access space, to help connect people living in neighborhoods targeted by the project to improved options for acquiring healthy foods and beverages. One of the key methods used will be offering mini-grants and technical assistance to select corner stores within 1,000 feet of a school to encourage the purchase and consumption of healthy and nutritious foods. These grants will support the purchase of items that include: display baskets for healthy foods at the point of sale; small refrigeration units for healthy low fat dairy items and highly perishable produce items; signage; sandwich boards; and digital electronic signs. The goal of the mini-grants is to create a policy, practice, or an environmental change in the selected stores.

Breastfeeding Support Services

This strategy is aimed at supporting and encouraging breastfeeding in high needs prenatal/postpartum women in Syracuse, with a particular focus on those living in the target zip codes of the Near Westside and Northside neighborhoods. The key methods OCHD will use to advance this strategy include: working with health care providers to deliver health education materials and support, working with key community-based sites to create dedicated breastfeeding-friendly rooms/spaces, by disseminating culturally competent breastfeeding education and marketing materials in several key languages, and working cooperatively with community partners who serve the target population.  The goal is to increase breastfeeding initiation and maintenance in the community through education, environmental changes, and practice changes.

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