Welcome to the State of California 

Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch - Early Care and Education

The California Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) recognizes the importance of focusing on the zero-to-five age group as part of nutrition education and obesity prevention efforts.  Local Health Departments selecting this group as a target for their nutrition education activities are encouraged to consider service to the children themselves; early childhood is an important time to help establish healthy habits and to expose children to a variety of healthy foods. Education can also be focused on parents and other adult caregivers (such as childcare providers, pre-school teachers, aides, afterschool program leads, etc.). 

The development of healthy and active early care and education environments is encouraged.  This includes aspects such as serving and promoting healthy foods and beverages, implementing healthy celebrations and meetings, and providing multiple opportunities for daily physical activity—all supported by healthy site policies and systems. 

Contact Us

For more information, please contact NEOPB at (916) 449-5400.   


A variety of materials are available for use with this population, per the NEOPB Approved Materials section on the Local Health Department Information webpage. Qualifying community organizations in California can request free materials through the Local Health Department in their county. 

Early Childhood On-Line SNAP-Ed Toolkit 

This Early Childhood On-Line Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Toolkit provides resources to support and promote healthy eating and physical activity in ECE settings. 

  • Early Childhood On-Line SNAP-Ed Toolkit (PDF) Opens in a new browser window
    Though organized as resources to help assess, plan, implement, and evaluate SNAP-Ed efforts, many of the resources support functions in more than one category. NOTE: Implementation resources are further identified by their practical uses (i.e., activities and games, and curriculum and lessons).              

CHOICE – Creating Healthy Opportunities in Child Care Environments

Created in collaboration with the Contra Costa Child Care Council, the following materials can be used together to support nutrition and physical activity education in early care and education settings.

  • Best Practices for Child Care Nutrition and Physical Activity Environments (PDF, 2.57MBOnly available as PDF
    A guide to promote and aid nutrition and physical activity environment self-assessment and policy development in early care and education settings.
  • Early Childhood Nutrition Education Bookmarks
    Only available as PDFs.
    These colorful bookmarks make a nice take-away for parents and adult caregivers working with young children. The bookmarks offer tips to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy beverages, and can be used in conjunction with a variety of nutrition education activities.

    Fruits and Vegetables
    (PDF, Eng) | (PDF, Spa)Opens in a new browser window
    Healthy Beverages (PDF, Eng) | (PDF, Spa)Opens in a new browser window
    Whole Grains (PDF, Eng) | (PDF, Spa)Opens in a new browser window

  • Physical Activity Promotion Handout (PDF, Eng) | (PDF, Spa) Opens in a new browser windowOnly available as PDF
    This handout is a nice complement to the similarly designed bookmarks. For use with parents and other adult caregivers working with young children, the Physical Activity handout offers basic tips to help adults promote physical activity for young children.

NEOPB SNAP-Ed Approved Potter the Otter Materials

Designed for early childhood education, the popular “Potter the Otter” book characters created by First 5 Santa Clara, are featured in activity sheets, tip sheets, posters, and handouts created for use with the Rethink Your Drink Campaign. The activity sheets and online activities reinforce key nutrition education messages. All materials are in both English and Spanish. Download free PDFs of the activity sheets and other materials on the Rethink Your Drink Resources page.

Resources from Scholastic    

The online Potter the Otter resources from Scholastic are approved for use with NEOPB SNAP-Ed nutrition education.

  • It’s Picnic Day, Potter! Book (PDF, Eng/Spa)Opens a new browser window
    Follow Potter the Otter as he gets ready for a picnic by choosing healthy food and drinks to pack and games to play outside with his friends. Download the free digital book at www.scholastic.com/first5CA. Note: This is the only book in the Potter the Otter book series that has been approved for NEOPB SNAP-Ed use. The first book, Potter the Otter Loves to Drink Water, is not approved. The book, online activities, and upcoming events are available at www.potterloveswater.com.
  • Common Core-ready Materials for California Pre-K and Kindergarten Classrooms
    Teaching Guide and Student worksheets (PDF)Opens a new browser window
    Reading Assessment worksheets (PDF)Opens a new browser window
  • Resources for families with young children at www.scholastic.com/first5CA.
    Kindergarten readiness guides, activities, and recipes in English and Spanish.

Discover MyPlate: Nutrition Education for Kindergarten

Ready-to-go lessons that help children become food-smart as they practice counting, reading, writing, and more! Fun characters and developmentally appropriate activities engage children in exploring healthy food choices and discovering fun ways to be physically active.

Last modified on: 11/5/2015 11:17 AM