Physical Activity & Nutrition

The Idaho Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) program works statewide to improve healthy eating and active living opportunities.  A focus on policy and environmental changes makes the healthy choice the easy choice for Idahoans.  We work with community partners to maximize resources and impact as everyone (schools, work sites, cities, businesses and more) are needed to prevent obesity and improve health in our communities.  Current projects focus on working with parents and child care providers to improve the health environment for children, worksite and school wellness.

IPAN Coordinator: Marisa Erickson
Phone: 208-455-5335

Children with working parents spend a large portion of their day in child care settings.  Don’t forget to consider the health environment when choosing child care for your child.  Healthy habits learned early translate to a long, happy, and healthy life!

Healthy environments to consider include: healthy eating, healthy beverages, physical activity, limits on screen time, and supporting breastfeeding moms.

Resources below include parenting helps as well as guidance when selecting child care.

For Parents

Live Better Idaho helps connects families to services including child care.

Text4baby sends FREE text messages to help new moms through pregnancy up to baby’s first birthday.

For Child Care Providers

Let’s Move! Child Care is a nationwide initiative to promote children’s health.  Its overarching goal is to solve childhood obesity so that American kids can grow up healthy and reach their potentials.  Studies show that 1 in 5 kids are overweight or obese by age 6.  Disease and health issues that were once mainly seen in adults like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are now becoming more common in kids.

Child care providers are a key group on the front lines of childhood obesity prevention efforts.  More than half of US kids under 5 are in some type of child care setting.   Many of these kids spend the majority of their day with their child care provider which makes it an ideal place to practice and learn healthy habits.

Let’s Move! Child Care goals include:

  • Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day.
  • Screen Time: No screen time for children less than 2 years. For children age 2 and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care.
  • Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style whenever possible, and don’t serve fried foods.
  • Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugar-sweetened drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and provide no more than one 4- to 6- ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
  • Infant Feeding: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their expressed milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day.

For more information and to sign up for the Let’s Move! Child Care program, go to:

Worksite Wellness

Wellness at work is good for business.  Southwest District Health is working with worksites interested in wellness to complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Worksite Health Scorecard.  This is an organizational benchmark assessment which will help worksites identify new opportunities in their current promotion/wellness programs.  Southwest District Health will provide feedback based on the results of the Worksite Health Scorecard.  These results will guide the worksite in identifying some action items.  Southwest District Health will provide resources and technical assistance as able to assist the worksite in completing their action items.

The CDC Worksite Health Scorecard:

School Wellness

Research shows that healthy students perform better and behave better.  Schools have a great responsibility to influence student’s eating and physical activity behaviors for the better.  Schools that make efforts to promote good health, will see a return on their investment that will benefit the entire community.

For more information on the connection between healthy living, improved student performance, and school wellness, visit the following links.

Additional Resources

National Resources

Local Resources