Bill Aims to Make Daycare Healthier for Oklahoma Kids

Mar 31, 2017

Senate Bill 806 would largely eliminate screen time for kids younger than two in licensed daycares.
Credit pixabay.com

A Senate measure to make kids in licensed daycare healthier advances in the Oklahoma House.

Senate Bill 806 says federal nutrition standards must apply to infants and institutes a minimum of 60 minutes daily physical activity for all kids.

Rep. Carol Bush said that will help with an obvious problem.

"Oklahoma has a childhood obesity rate of 36 percent, and most of those children grow up to be obese adults. So, we're trying to be preemptive in addressing those issues," Bush said.

Physical activity for infants could include "tummy time," which is when a baby is placed on its stomach to help develop muscles needed for standing, sitting and walking later on.

SB806 besides cases of educational use, assistive technology, participation in physical activity and occasional special activities, screen time for kids under two should be eliminated. That’s already the case for kids older than two, but Bush said younger children’s use isn’t tracked.

"This just makes sure that it's not an option. Right now, it's currently an option, because there's no requirement against it. So, I couldn't tell you who's doing it, but this would make sure they didn't do it," Bush said.

Michelle Sutton with the American Heart Association said the changes for licensed daycares aren't big ones.

"It's nothing that they're not already doing with regards to screen time, nutrition or exercise for all of the other children in their care," Sutton said. "So, this will fit right into what they're doing with existing programs."

The requirements would not apply to drop-in facilities where kids may only stay a couple hours. The bill passed committee this week and now heads to the House floor.