Promoting a lifetime of healthy behaviors

Healthy Habits, Healthy Kids | Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children

Healthy Habits, Healthy Kids is a project to enhance the quality of outdoor play and learning environments for young children in 26 childcare centers and 4 family childcare homes in Halifax and Warren counties, North Carolina. In addition, the project aims to increase childcare professionals’ knowledge on the role outdoor environments have on young children’s health and development.

Using the Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) strategy, the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) applies evidence-based design assistance and professional development to deliver high-quality, developmentally appropriate, outdoor learning environments.

The initiative is supported by The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, delivered through Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children.

The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) at the College of Design, NC State University, is working with several state-level partners to develop policies, programs, and healthy outdoor environments to address early childhood obesity in North Carolina with the support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

Through Shape NC, NLI is working collaboratively with Local Partnerships for Children and Model Early Learning Centers (MELCs) to design natural outdoor learning environments (OLEs) in selected sites.  In addition, NLI provides training, technical assistance and resources to support Shape NC participants and communities throughout North Carolina to assist them in creating healthy environments for young children in childcare.

Be Active Kids

Be Active Kids (BAK) is a physical activity initiative focused on providing physical activity related support and resources to individuals caring for young children in North Carolina. Be Active Kids utilizes a developmentally appropriate curricula and various training modules to increase physical activity of both children and adults in early childhood settings. For more information, visit


The Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (GO NAPSACC) tool was developed by the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). The tool targets childcare policy, practice and environmental influences on nutrition and physical activity behaviors in young children. UNC-CH staff provide guidance and training on using GO NAPSACC with Shape NC child care centers. For more information, visit

Smart Start and the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

The North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) or Smart Start, is North Carolina’s nationally recognized early childhood education initiative whose vision is to ensure that all children have all they need for healthy growth and development. Smart Start is organized at the community level through Local Partnerships for Children which have established community networks that bridge education, health services, and family supports to best meet the needs of young children and their families. For more information, visit

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation is an independent nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. BCBSNC Foundation is committed to children’s health and funded NLI’s Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Project in previous years.  The BCBSNC Foundation is one of the current and previous funders for the Shape NC. For more information, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a U.S. federal government agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, Senior Corps, and other national service initiatives. CNCS awarded NCPC with a Social Innovation Fund grant for $4 million for Shape NC from 2016-2020.