November 26, 2019

New Research Raises Alarm Around Screen Time

Researchers are shining a harsh light on the damaging effects of screen time for young children. A new study determined that not only are 3- to 5-year-old children more frequently exceeding the recommended screen time limits of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but also that the exposure was contributing to lower structural integrity of the white matter tracts in children's developing brains. This can jeopardize children's language, literacy and cognitive skills. 

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that children's daily screen time has increased from 53 minutes at age 12 months to more than 150 minutes by age 3 years. Children who had been in home-based child care or were born to first-time mothers were found to have the most excessive screen use by age 8. Researchers concluded that 87 percent of the nearly 4,000 children analyzed for the study had daily screen time exceeding the AAP recommendations. 

The AAP recommendations encourage parents and caregivers to avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, digital media should be viewed in small doses with a role model. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just one hour a day of high-quality programming. 

CLOCC reinforces a two-hour-or-less limit for recreational screen time as part of the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! healthy lifestyle message. Screen time not only contributes to sedentary behavior, but also exposes kids to nearly 10,000 food ads per year, 98% of which are for candy, fast-food, soft-drinks and sugary cereal.

5-4-3-2-1 Go! Resources
fiveSMART Resources
Final Opportunity to Comment on SNAP Restrictions; Window Closes December 2nd

The Trump administration continues to pursue restrictive changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that, if  enacted, will negatively impact the health and wellness of hundreds of thousands of food-insecure children in the United States.    

SNAP is a hunger and nutrition safety net for 42 million Americans, including 13 million children, living in food-insecure households. The program ensures children have access to basic nutrition, such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, and an opportunity to lead a healthy life.

A proposed  rule change affecting SNAP, the third of 2019, was announced on Thursday, October 9th. The SNAP Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Allowances  would change the way recipients' income, as well as housing and utility expenses, are used to calculate benefits. As a result, nearly $4.5B would be removed from SNAP funding, 8,000 households would lose SNAP benefits entirely, and 19 percent of recipients would see a decrease in monthly benefits. "This move exacerbate the struggles many low-income people have paying for costs of both food and utilities, and have harmful impacts on health and well-being as well as on the economy," stated the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). The comment period for the rule change will be open through December 2nd. 

Updates on social, structural and other root causes of obesity
CLOCC continues to expand our focus "upstream" to identify the fundamental root causes of obesity, and to broaden the scope of our obesity prevention strategies. This work coincides with heightened local and national attention to health equity and social determinants of health, such as immigration, education, poverty and racism, all of which have an impact on people's ability to eat healthy and be active where they live, work, learn, and play. If you have comments or questions about this focus, we invite you to reach out to
  • The Lead in Water Resource Program helps home-based child care providers in the Chicago metropolitan area with lead in water testing costs and short-term mitigation strategies.  Applications to the program must be submitted by November 30th. To apply, please complete this online application form and click submit at the bottom of the page.  If you have any questions please contact Elevate Energy at 312.300.7074.
  • The Community Innovation Grants Program has been designed to allow the United Fresh Start Foundation to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to increase children's access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce while they are outside of school. The 2020 program is focused on supporting visionary initiatives and research that not only increases children and families' access to fresh produce, but also broadens selection and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether at home, on weekends, during the summer, while out to eat, or any other time outside the traditional school day. Learn more, or apply by December 1, 2019.
  • Each year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) supports communities across our state through its grants and sponsorships. Community Investments at BCBSIL are divided into two areas: grants and sponsorship. In Illinois, grants are awarded to direct service health and human service organizations with 501(c)(3) status. Funding is distributed through two separate funding streams: Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Grants and Community Partners Grants. Grants are for 1 year only. Organizations may apply through either funding stream (but not both). Funding is competitive, so organizations should assess alignment with each streams' funding priorities. The LOI window will open on January 21. 
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Office on Women's Health (OWH) jointly announce the YES Initiative in collaboration with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and in consultation with the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and the Office of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition (PCSFN). The YES Initiative seeks to identify characteristics of effective collaborations that improve physical activity and nutrition via increased sports participation. YES Initiative applicants should propose to address unhealthy physical activity and nutrition behaviors among racial/ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged youth (including, specifically girls), and provide opportunities to learn skills and gain experiences that contribute to more positive lifestyles and enhance their capacity to make healthier life choices.  Applicants should have capacity to develop and implement sports fitness programs based on successful evidenced-based strategies for youth engagement.  The application due date is May 31, 2019.
T he Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally recognized leader for community-based obesity prevention. We support, coordinate, and unite partners to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children and families. Our multi-sector approach emerged in Chicago and can be adapted for use anywhere.