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The Child and Adult Care Food Program Responds to the First Lady's #GimmeFive Challenge!

Posted by Andrea Farmer, Chief, Community Meals Branch Policy and Program Development Division, Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition Initiatives
Aug 31, 2016
A collage of the Magic Garden
Taste preferences and eating habits are formed early in a child’s life, making CACFP a critical part of establishing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Through its 15 nutrition assistance programs, USDA strives to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides aid to child and adult care centers and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. CACFP administrators and program operators receive support from many advocacy organizations who help ensure children and adults participating in CACFP receive nutritious meals. Below is a story from one of those advocacy organizations, the Child Care Food Program Roundtable.

By Chris Clark, Child Care Food Program Roundtable

In 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to end childhood obesity, Let’s Move!, celebrated its fifth anniversary. To mark the occasion, she issued the #GimmeFive challenge which encouraged all Americans to do five things to lead a healthier lifestyle. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) community heard this call to action and developed its own CACFP Take ACTION Challenge. That Challenge was launched at the 2015 CCFP Roundtable Conference, where over 500 conference attendees got up, got moving and performed the #GimmeFive Dance!

The Challenge is a yearlong initiative aimed at creating national CACFP awareness, including its collaborative role in quality child care, healthy children, food security and childhood obesity prevention. It recognizes and celebrates CACFP participants’ and professionals’ efforts to get over 1.9 billion CACFP healthy meals and snacks served in family child care homes, centers and after school programs to over 3.8 million children and adults each year.

It consists of five categories, each with a list of corresponding activities. Categories include CACFP Take Action Launch, USDA Resources and Best Practices, Health and Wellness, Educate and Advocate and CACFP Campaigns. Participants select the activities they are interested in undertaking, complete the activities, take a picture and tell their story. At the end of the Challenge—at the 2016 CCFP Roundtable Conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif. – the following awards will be presented: CACFP Gold, Silver, Bronze and Commended.

To date, submissions have been received from child care providers, sponsors, USDA and state agencies in over 35 states. Additional challenge partners are: Child Care Food Program Roundtable; Food Research Action Center (FRAC); Team FNV; Let’s Move! Child Care; T & L Foundation; California Department of Education; National Farm to School Network and USDA. Some fun and creative examples of Challenge submissions received to date include:

  • Involving kids in taste testing recipes and creating their own recipe books to take home
  • Forming intramural sports teams and exercising together at work
  • Getting infants and young kids moving by listening to the Fruit and Veggie Swag collection of songs and videos
  • Inspiring others to join the Challenge through friendly competition
  • Starting a boot camp style fitness program for friends and colleagues

Building a healthy culture calls for action within and across sectors, because progress in one area will advance progress in another. CACFP, you are doing it! Thank you!

For more wonderful Challenge stories, visit: For details about CACFP, please see: To learn more about the Child Care Food Program Roundtable, go to