Get Informed: Nutritional Policies in Action

Feeding a toddler is no small feat, as mashed carrots on the kitchen wall remind us. But nutrition is a key part of the healthy physical, cognitive and emotional development of young children. Nutrition matters directly in terms of levels of energy, physical development, concentration, and levels of self-confidence. Meals are also a key family touchstone for establishing supportive routines, opportunities for interaction, and moments to come together as a family. Here are a few agencies and interventions in Memphis that are designed to help support the nutritional needs and healthy development of young children.

The Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

WIC is a  federally funded program that supports the nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and their infants and children until the age of five. WIC is designed to supplement a family’s food budget with nutritious food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and healthcare referrals. By improving nutrition in young children, WIC supports the healthy early brain and physical development for children. There are over 900 grocery stores and pharmacies in Tennessee that participate in the WIC program. For more information on eligibility, click here.

The Golden Sneaker Initiative

This initiative aims to improve health and wellness in childcare facilities across the state of Tennessee. The Golden Sneaker initiative distinguishes facilities that voluntarily meet the necessary guidelines for physical fitness and nutrition and have committed to a higher quality of child care. Facilities that meet the requirements are allowed to display the Golden Sneaker emblem. From encouragement of breast-feeding, and adhering to developmentally appropriate portion sizes to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity per day and limiting daily TV exposure, the initiative seeks to implement best practices for physical wellness. For a list of Golden Sneaker facilities in Memphis and Shelby County, click here.

The Green Machine

Like many cities across the country, low-income families in Memphis have a much harder time accessing fresh fruits and vegetables, because large markets are generally located in more affluent areas. The Green Machine is a collaborative effort between many community organizations and The University of Memphis. The Green Machine is a MATA bus retrofitted as a mobile food service that is intended to bring the green grocer to "food deserts" in Memphis. That is: neighborhoods that don't have access to fresh produce. The Green Machine is expected to be running by April.  For more information, click here.