Featured Programs & Activities
Making it Easier for Island County Youth to Eat Well and Be Active

The Healthy Island Youth Initiative (HIYI) is an ongoing project of Island County Public Health that uses community-based policy and environmental approaches to encourage physical activity and healthy eating opportunities for the county’s children and youth. HIYI incorporates strategies drawn from the nutrition and physical activity priority recommendations outlined in the Washington State Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan. One of the initiative’s current aims is to make it easier for children to eat well and be active in child care by increasing access to healthful foods and reducing sedentary behaviors.

This spring, HIYI held workshops for childcare providers entitled "A Recipe for Success: Food, Fitness, and Fun." The workshops highlighted: (1) how child care providers could develop and improve their program's policies to make good nutritious snacks the easy choice for their children, staff, and families, (2) how ECEAP's activities-CHOW, FEAST, and FUN-supported by the Basic Food Nutrition Education Program (BFNEP) grant, could be incorporated into child care programs, and (3) how providers could utilize resources on physical activity, nutrition, and screen time, including the SPARK curricula and Washington Active Bodies, Active Minds toolkit.

Encouraging Smart Screen Media Use for School Age Children

The Island County Children’s Commission is appointed by the Island County Board of Health to assess and identify the needs of infants, young children and youth in Island County, and to advocate and work collaboratively to address priority concerns. The commission has also identified screen time and video violence awareness and education as one of its primary issues to address for school-age children 2009.  The commission has planned multiple strategies to encourage smart use of appropriate screen media including hosting public forums on screen media and video game violence, educating video store owners about video ratings, and advocating for legislative changes.

As a follow-up to the workshops, participants were sent an evaluation and an issue brief on child care and obesity prevention that offered practical suggestions for improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time in child care.

HIYI is also partnering with South Whidbey’s Children’s Center, the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program, and the Whidbey Island Child Care Association to develop nutrition, physical activity, and screen time policy recommendations that can be implemented by the county’s child care providers. Examples of policies include following the AAP recommendations of less than two hours of television per day and dedicating certain days of the week to be TV free.