Partners & coalitions
Profile: Glassy Develops National Child Care Recommendations

Danette GlassyDanette Glassy, MD, FAAP, is a leader in improving obesity prevention standards and practices in early learning settings. Glassy has treated children at Mercer Island Pediatrics for 24 years and trains other pediatricians as a Clinical Professor at the University of Washington. She also serves as the Chair of the Section on Early Education and Child Care for the national American Academy of Pediatrics.

Glassy is grateful to mentors like Elizabeth Bonbright Thompson, Jan Gross and Lorrie Grevsted who were pioneers in calling attention to the need for strong child care heath practices.

She was recruited to co-edit the third edition of health and safety performance standards called Caring For Our Children, based on research evidence and the consensus of experts. The three year process involved 10 technical panels with 85 members. The work was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, and funded through a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Cooperative Agreement.

As if this task was not large enough, Glassy recalls that the team working on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative asked them to put their obesity prevention work on a fast track. As a result, Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs got published in time for the launch of Let’s Move! in February 2010 and includes all of the standards from Caring for Our Children that relate to obesity prevention: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Screen Time standards for early care and education. The full report, Caring for our Children (Third Edition), came out the following year.

More recently, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tapped Glassy for an advisory committee on Head Start research and evaluation. Glassy says, “We reported to Congress last fall on what the studies are showing and where Head Start should aim in the future. I got to work with an amazing group and interact with people in the Administration for Children & Families at the federal level and also people who run Head Start.” The Committee’s recommendations spanned 4 key areas: quality teaching and learning; parent, family, and community engagement; health and mental health; and cultural and linguistic.

To bring national obesity prevention standards to state partners, Glassy and the state AAP chapter have used three strategies:

  1. Meet early and often with people drafting the regulations, and also seek meetings with committees empowered to review and revise the draft regulations before they are adopted. “Then you just cross your fingers” she says, “and see how the regulations turn out.”
  2. Provide incentives and coaching for child care professionals. “In about three years, the Quality Rating and Improvement System will be up for revision again in Washington, and that will be good timing to increase incentives for obesity prevention practices,” says Glassy. She notes that some states have impressive obesity prevention strategies.
  3. Provide coaching in licensing for child care professionals. Glassy cites several state initiatives on this, including the CPPW-funded project in King County to develop curricula for city-sponsored child care. In addition, the Coalition for Safety and Health in Early Learning supports child care health consultants who provide direct coaching to providers.

Glassy is optimistic about adding obesity prevention practices to other Washington state standards that ensure school readiness for young children. She says, “Research shows that this is as important to school readiness as teaching children how to write their letters and make the transition from circle time to play time.”

Also profiled in this issue:

Nina Auerbach

Adrienne Dorf

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Target Audience

Child care advocates in Washington


Washington State