Be a Leader for Healthy Child Care Centers

When healthy habits are formed during the preschool years, they can last a lifetime. Child care centers and early education programs can guide our children to a healthier future during their earliest years.

Cindy Viges at Dreamers’ Land DayCare & Learning Center LLC is one of the many child care center owners in Louisiana who has taken the lead in moving the health of her community forward. By connecting with Well-Ahead, child care centers can learn how to support employee health, geaux tobacco-free and model healthy behaviors for the children they care for. They can also get connected to training and resources to learn how to get kids active, nurture healthy eating and drink habits and champion  oral health. All of these changes can make a positive impact in your community.

Change begins with you—take the lead in your community today!

You Need to Know Our Numbers

Health Data for Louisiana Child Care Centers

We’re pretty proud of our way of life in Louisiana and our lifestyle has a big impact on our overall health. These numbers affect every aspect of life in our communities, including childhood obesity. 

1 in 5

Louisiana children 0-5 years old live in a household where someone smokes¹


Louisiana children 1-5 years old had tooth decay or cavities in the past year¹


of babies in Louisiana are breastfed for the recommended first 6 months of life²

In 2016, the indirect cost of chronic diseases from missed work days and loss of productivity cost Louisiana was

$38 billion3

It’s Time for a Change

Childhood Obesity in Louisiana

If we want to set our next generation up for success, we must move Louisiana’s health forward. Obesity during childhood can put our children at higher risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol (risk factors for heart disease), type 2 diabetes and asthma. Childhood obesity is also related to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, bullying and stigma. Making healthy changes in child care centers and early education programs can connect our Louisiana communities to a healthier future.

You Can Take the Lead

Healthy Behaviors Start with Early Education

Child care centers and early education programs can, and should, promote healthy behaviors. Ensure the children you care for have a healthy start to a healthy future. Change the conversation around health at your center and implement changes that can help your children grow up healthy and able to pursue their dreams. Each small change can influence health, one step at a time. We are here to help! When you commit to becoming a WellSpot, we will walk alongside you to implement these healthy changes. Learn how you can be a leader at your center.

Model Healthy Behaviors for Louisiana Children

Supporting employee health is key in creating a healthy child care center. Healthy employees are happier, more productive and absent less. Healthy employees are powerful role models for children, and can inspire lifelong healthy habits. Child care centers can invest in the health of their staff by supporting employee wellness.

Geaux Tobacco-Free in Louisiana

Exposure to tobacco is dangerous—especially for infants and children. Children exposed to second and third hand smoke are at a higher risk of health issues, including SIDS, acute respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma, and more. Geaux tobacco-free in your center by putting in place these key changes. These changes can also help your staff geaux tobacco-free!

Nurture Healthy Eating and Drinking Habits

Healthy eating is necessary for healthy development, so it is important to offer children healthy food choices that will nurture their bodies and fuel brain development. Children form lifelong eating habits based on the foods served to them when they are young. You can implement these changes in your child care center to help the children you care for eat and drink healthy.

Get Louisiana’s Kids Active

For growing bodies and developing minds, it is important to limit screen time and prioritize physical activity. You can implement these changes in your center to help the children you care for get active.

Champion Oral Health for Children

Teaching children how to take care of their baby teeth helps them to establish good oral health habits and increases the chances of having a healthy mouth later in life. Child care centers can keep their children smiling by educating on oral health hygiene.

Prioritize Child Care Staff Training and Learning

Equip your staff to provide the best quality care to the children and families you serve. Learn your center’s health strengths and opportunities for change. Educate your team on the importance of teaching healthy habits during childhood by connecting them to available training, tools and networking opportunities. Use your voice by joining a health coalition.


1 Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2018-2019. National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query.

2 National Immunization Survey, 2016.

3 Milken Institute, 2015. Cost of Chronic Disease in the U.S.

Become a Well Spot

We are here to help! We’ve developed a set of wellness benchmarks just for child care centers that want to implement healthy changes like these. From implementing tobacco-free policy, to supporting breastfeeding mothers, to increasing access to healthy food choices, these benchmarks provide evidence based strategies to move the health of our communities forward.

We will walk alongside you as you work to meet these benchmarks. Once enough benchmarks are met, we will officially designate you as a Level 3, Level 2 or Level 1 WellSpot—our highest designation.

Being designated as a WellSpot is a big accomplishment—so your community needs to know all about it! Upon designation, you will receive a recognition certificate from the Louisiana Department of Health. You will also receive an official WellSpot decal to display on the entrance of your school. In addition, your organization will be added to our interactive WellSpot map. You will also receive a promotional toolkit to help you promote your designation on social media, to the press and more!