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Preschoolers Nationwide Take a Healthy Plunge Into Spring

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NOVI, Mich., March 20, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thousands of Learning Care Group's preschoolers are shaking off the winter doldrums today in the latest example of the company's Grow Fit healthy lifestyle initiative at work: doing the Bunny Hop! Children at Childtime, Tutor Time, Children's Courtyard, La Petite Academy and Montessori Unlimited are greeting the first day of spring with a simultaneous nationwide rendition of the beloved dance. More than 75,000 children and staff are slated to participate in the event at their own schools as part of Grow Fit. Now in its second year, the program aims to ensure children have the energy to learn and positions them for future success.





Making Healthy Lifestyles a Priority

Since its launch in October 2012, Learning Care Group's Grow Fit program has become part of the school culture not only with fun special events, such as today's localized Bunny Hop preschooler flash mob, but with daily lessons. The comprehensive initiative provides a clearly defined structure for nutrition and physical activity. While Grow Fit is a formal company policy, children and teachers alike continue to enjoy championing the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

"Through Grow Fit, we've prioritized nutrition and fitness as a foundation for supporting children's healthy development and preventing childhood obesity, as well as chronic disease later in life," said Learning Care Group CEO Barbara Beck. "We've made a commitment to give children the knowledge, motivation and experience to pave the way for a lifetime of healthy habits."

In February, Learning Care Group reaffirmed its dedication to ensuring a healthy environment for the children in its care by joining the Partnership for a Healthier America and committing to meet the Let's Move! Child Care standards.

What's on the Menu?

Children at every Learning Care Group school are developing their palates through a well-balanced menu that features a host of fruits and vegetables, plenty of lean proteins and whole grains, and a variety of multi-cultural foods. Healthy nutrition habits are emphasized every day, including the importance of drinking water and following appropriate portion sizes. Offerings such as turkey tacos, Waldorf fruit salad and hummus (chickpea dip) and baked pita chips have become favorites, and children look forward to exploring new menu items. The spring/summer menu, coming in April, will include new offerings such as Cuban Beef Picadillo served over brown rice, Thai King chicken served over whole wheat noodles, and Cobb salad.

Learning Care Group has already made some dramatic progress through Grow Fit, under the guidance of a registered dietician. In just one year, the company has cut the equivalent of 5 semi trucks worth of sugar from children's meals just by serving more water and reducing the amount of juice. While working to eliminate fried foods from the menu, the company sought a healthier alternative to the typical chicken nugget, a kid favorite. Now, just by switching from a breaded and fried nugget to a grilled chicken nugget, the company will trim 2,800 lbs of fat – more than a ton – in one year. That's roughly the weight equivalent of a small car.

This is How Kids Grow Fit

Grow Fit follows the tenets of the Let's Move! Child Care effort in the fight to prevent childhood obesity:

• Physical Activity: 1-2 hours of physical activity through the day, including outside play when possible
• Screen Time: 30 minutes or less weekly at school; 2 hours or less daily at home; None for children under 2
• Food: Serve more fruits and vegetables. Eat meals family style whenever possible. Don't serve fried foods.
• Beverages: Access to water throughout the day. No sugar-sweetened drinks. For children 2 and older, low-fat or non-fat milk. No more than one 4-6 oz. serving of 100% juice per day.
• Infant Feeding: Support all parents' decisions about infant feeding. Breastfeeding mothers can provide their milk to their infants and are welcome to breastfeed during school time.

The company is already meeting a majority of the program goals, and also is providing educational support for parents to make healthier choices at home. Check out Learning Care Group's Grow Fit program in action and our Grow Fit Daily Dance Break.

About Learning Care Group, Inc.

Headquartered in Novi, Mich., Learning Care Group provides early education and child care services to children ages 6 weeks to 13 years within its portfolio of brands: The Children's Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, Montessori Unlimited and Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Centers. Learning Care Group operates more than 900 schools (corporate and franchise) across 36 states, the District of Columbia and internationally, and has a system-wide capacity to serve more than 100,000 children. For more information, please visit www.learningcaregroup.com

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=24260

CONTACT: Lydia Cisaruk Director of Communications Learning Care Group (248) 697-9140 lcisaruk@learningcaregroup.com

Source: Learning Care Group