New Survey Reveals Parents’ High Expectations for Health in Child Care Settings

The Partnership for a Healthier America is working with child care providers to meet those demands.

WASHINGTON D.C. (June 29, 2016) — Almost one quarter of children under the age of five are in some form of organized child care, where rules such as limited screen time or active play time vary. A nationwide poll revealed 91 percent of parents will choose a child care center based on its commitment to create a healthier environment, by providing nutritious meals and snacks and physical activity.

According to a nationwide survey, parents ranked the following factors “extremely/very important” when thinking about daycare for their children:

  • 91 percent – Access to free, safe drinking water
  • 89 percent – Serving nutritious food and snacks
  • 88 percent – Providing physical activity throughout the day
  • 74 percent – Limiting screen time

This summer, as parents search for child care providers for the 2016-2017 school year, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) encourages them to ask questions about their prospective child care’s efforts toward creating a healthier environment for their kids.

“Entrusting someone with your child’s care is one of the most important decisions parents and families can make, which is why we are working with early childhood education providers across the country, helping our newest generation get off to a healthy start,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “By teaching healthy habits early, we’re helping to set kids up for success, and we encourage all families to ask child care providers about the efforts they are taking to create healthier environments for our kids.”

Five organizations – Bright Horizons, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, New Horizon Academy and the YMCA – have committed to implementing policies aimed at creating healthier environments throughout their centers. They are publicly reporting their progress in PHA’s Annual Report:

These five centers are collectively impacting approximately 1 million children with healthier options. According to the 2011 U.S. Census, 12.5 million children under the age of 5 are in organized daycare, which demonstrates the opportunity for many more daycare providers to join the movement.

As recommended by the Yale Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool (WellCCAT), these policies include but are not limited to: serving fruits or vegetables at every meal; serving healthier beverages; providing a minimum of one hour of physical activity every day; no screen time for children under 2; accommodating mothers who want to breastfeed and educating parents about making healthy lifestyle choices at home.

About the poll

In early June 2016, the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) conducted market research where 1,000 respondents were screened to find parents with children under 12 in daycare (n=134). The full report can be found at For questions about the poll, please contact Kurt Schramm, NMI, 215-513-7300,

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 and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.