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New IOM Report Highlights Importance of Early Childhood Education, Bright Horizons Commitment with PHA

WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2011) – Lawrence A. Soler, CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) – an organization focused on solving the nation’s childhood obesity crisis – today issued the following statement on a newly released Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on early childhood obesity prevention.

The IOM report follows a child care commitment made by Bright Horizons Family Solutions earlier this month with PHA, and announced by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“We are pleased to see that the IOM childcare report released today not only reflects an understanding of the importance of early childhood development and its impact on obesity, but that it is also consistent with the commitment Bright Horizons made earlier this month.

Bright Horizon’s commitment to continue to improve its nutrition and physical activity for the 70,000 children it cares for every day is a market-leading initiative. Today’s IOM report represents perfectly the idea that PHA holds dear: namely, that it will take the public and private sector moving forward together to solve the childhood obesity crisis.”

Bright Horizons committed to serve as a model for all early childhood educators as they continue to focus extraordinary effort on promoting healthy habits for the children they care for. The press release can be found here.

Bright Horizons is the first private child care company to commit to public evaluation of their commitment to healthy practices. The standards Bright Horizons will meet are consistent with the Early Childhood Settings guidelines developed last year in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Previously, PHA announced it will begin to regularly produce and publish policy “Snapshots”, one page briefs about key areas of childhood obesity, and published the inaugural snapshot, titled “Early Childhood Education: Obesity Factors in Child Care Settings.” The snapshot provides an overview of nutritional and physical activity issues encountered in child care settings. Early childhood is generally defined as birth to five years of age.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.