The Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition is a multisector group run by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health representing over 150 organizations county-wide, driven by its mission that all children in early care and education in Cuyahoga County can be healthy. The coalition uses a policy and systems change approach to help children and families achieve early childhood success by ensuring their health and wellbeing needs are met.
Beginning in 2018, Coalition leaders partnered with the Catalyzing Communities project to visualize the drivers and impacts of early childhood obesity in Cuyahoga County, identify high-impact strategies to address it, and harness the energy and power of the group to create sustainable change.
Strengthening Licensed Childcare County-wide
Ohio Healthy Program is a voluntary designation that provides training and technical assistance to licensed early education programs and aims to prevent obesity through policy adoption, menu standards, and family engagement efforts focused on good nutrition and physical activity.
Recognizing the importance of strengthening health and wellness in early childcare settings to improve health outcomes for children across the county, the Coalition prioritized monitoring and evaluating Ohio Healthy Program to encourage broader, statewide adoption of the program.
Identifying Strengths and Gaps in Early Childhood Health
Together, we created an intricate systems map that visualizes the various points surrounding child health in Cuyahoga County and helps explain the complex drivers and impacts of early childhood obesity county-wide.
The Coalition utilizes the systems map to communicate the importance of the group’s multi-sector work, bring new voices to the table, and serve as the basis of their next strategic plan to help identify, implement, and sustain key action steps to improve the health of all children.
Acting at All Levels of Influence
Through participation in our process, the Coalition identified advocacy and communications as key priorities for advancing early childhood obesity prevention efforts at the state level.
Catalyzing Communities helped county partners develop training and communication materials to promote state-level advocacy around strengthening licensing standards for childcare settings.
Thank you to our partners with the Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition for allowing the use of their photos on this website.
“Many of us realized through the ABC small group work that we are not practicing what we preach. We pivoted and were able to dialogue about things like this that come up and think about what could we change … it is now part of our responsibility to kindly speak up and look at new, healthier options.
Big systems changes can’t happen overnight, but this is just one small example of how things can change with a systems approach and various stakeholder input working at this together to make our communities and our children healthier.”
-EAHS ABC member
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