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Danette 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.
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:
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.”
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Featured: March 2013
Child care advocates in Washington