Early Childhood Strategy

Early childhood is a critical time for the development of healthy habits. 

Introducing physical activity and teaching children about healthy eating in a tobacco-free environment lays the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy choices.

With 70% of Minnesota's youngest residents attending child care, and 60% of those children spending more than 29 hours per week in these environments,1 the Center for Prevention has adopted an early childhood strategy to improve the health of children ages 0 to 5 in our state, especially where inequities exist. The work focuses on improving healthy eating, increasing physical activity and decreasing the risk of commercial tobacco exposure in early care and education settings.

By engaging and supporting those who provide care to children ages 0 to 5, the Center for Prevention aims to make it easy, accessible and part of the normal routine for caregivers to provide healthy foods and plenty of opportunities for active play throughout the day. Providing tools, training and technical assistance to child care providers is one tactic to help implement best practices in creating healthier early care and education settings.

One recent initiative within the early childhood strategy was the December 2014 Born to Thrive Summit — a cross-sector convening of early care and education champions. Sponsored by the Center, the summit fostered connections and identified multiple approaches to improve the current infrastructure of early care and education settings. Read the Born to Thrive Summit summary report.

1 ChildCare Aware. Child Care in American 2012 State Fact Sheets. Arlington, VA: ChildCare Aware 2012.


  • Making Healthy Choices Possible for All Minnesotans

    The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota tackles the leading causes of preventable disease -- tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating -- to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state.