DALLAS, Oct. 29, 2020 — The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, and Nemours Children’s Health System, announces the 2020-21 recipients of the annual Healthy Way to Grow recognition awards. Six early childcare and education centers earned the awards for successful implementation of healthy programs and policies for young children.

Healthy Way to Grow, a national, science-based, early childhood technical assistance program, provides educational resources to help communities, educators and caregivers improve practices and policies to prevent obesity. Through the program, children from birth to five years-old get off to a healthy start.

The 2020-21 awardees developed and followed center wellness policies, offered staff training about children’s health and taught children and their caregivers about healthy habits. The program recognizes centers on a gold, silver or bronze level based on implementation of best practices in nutrition, physical activity, screen time and infant feeding standards developed by a panel of childhood health experts. The winners are:

Gold awardee:

  • Flance Early Learning Center, St. Louis, MO

Silver awardee:

  • Unleashing Potential At Caroline Mission, St. Louis, MO

Bronze awardees:

  • Franklin Phonetic Primary School – Sunnyslope Preschool, Phoenix, AZ
  • The Children’s College, West Barnstable, MA
  • Kids Klub Child Care Center, Mashpee, MA
  • Sacred Heart Villa, St. Louis, MO

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity impacts 40% of children between the ages of 2-5, increasing their risk for Type 2 diabetes, asthma and depression. However, preventative action in early childhood can help reduce this risk. Wellness programs like Healthy Way to Grow are working to combat this issue by providing educational resources.

“One-third of U.S. children are overweight or have obesity which puts them at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in childhood and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke in adulthood,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer for prevention, American Heart Association. “The Healthy Way to Grow program, a joint program with Nemours, provides accessible resources for early childcare and education centers to implement science-based solutions to ensure young children adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors from the start. The program strives to reverse adverse health outcomes caused by childhood obesity.”

“At Nemours Children’s Health System, we believe Healthy Way to Grow continues to provide the perfect opportunity to shape healthy habits in ways that will benefit children throughout their lives,” said Allison Gertel-Rosenberg, Operating Vice President, Nemours National Office of Policy and Practice. “We congratulate all the centers for achieving recognition for the care they provide to children.”

Learn more about Healthy Way to Grow at healthywaytogrow.org.

Additional Resources:


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About Nemours Children’s Health System

Nemours is an internationally recognized children's health system that owns and operates the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., along with outpatient facilities in five states, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Nemours also powers the world’s most-visited website for information on the health of children and teens, KidsHealth.org and offers on-demand, online video patient visits through Nemours CareConnect.

Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont, Nemours provides pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy, and prevention programs to families in the communities it serves.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Kim Haller: 214.706.4858; Kimberly.Haller@heart.org   

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

For Nemours Inquiries:

Rachel Salis-Silverman: 302.256.7566; Rachel.Salis-silverman@nemours.org