Early Childhood and Positive Meal Environments

The childhood nutrition track will explore healthy eating environments for children 0-8 years old in Idaho. Experts in the field Dr. Janice Fletcher and Dr. SeAnne Safaii-Waite will help answer questions like:

-        What creates a healthy eating environment for children and how does that differ across age groups?

-        Why do eating environments matter and how are they tied to food security and health outcomes?

-        Which children are most likely to experience unhealthy eating environments in Idaho and what can be done to help them?

2018 “Next Steps” and updates for Childhood Nutrition and Workshop Materials

1) Increase the number of breastfeeding friendly designations in business, childcare and early childhood programs to 200 by the next 2020 Hunger Summit

  • The Breastfeeding Coalition has designated Lynelle King as Chair of the coalition.

  • The Breastfeeding Coalition has its own website

2) Create cross promotion/referral between WIC, National School Lunch Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program through interagency collaboration and a task force

  • Cross promotional flyers will be designed to be distributed.

3) Utilize education and referral to assist with the transition to E-WIC cards when they go live in 2019

  • eWIC is anticipated to be piloted in Mountain Home first, beginning late this summer. Boise is expected to launch shortly after, hopefully in September.

  • Participants will receive a card that will be accessed using a PIN, like a debit card.

  • All benefits will be stored electronically in a cloud-based system, accessible through an app. The app is live now, thought it doesn’t have full functionality yet. All participants are encouraged to download the app and familiarize themselves with it now. Go to the app store and search for “WIC Shopper”. The participant can then select Idaho as their state and access the portions of the app that are up and running (food list, recipes,etc.).

Contact: Sasha Pierson, Idaho Voices for Children,


Workshop Materials

Janice Fletcher, Family & Consumer Studies

Janice Fletcher, EdD, is a Professor Emerita of Child, Family, and Consumer Studies at the University of Idaho. She currently provides project support at the UI Center on Disabilities and Human Development. Dr. Fletcher has experience as an early interventionist, home visitor, classroom teacher, and as director of the University of Idaho Child Development Laboratory. Dr. Fletcher’s research focuses on feeding children in group settings, with emphasis on supporting adults to provide environments and relationships that help children become healthy, competent eaters. She is an avid supporter of quality child care, comprehensive Head Start programs, and early intervention for infants and young children and their families. She has a long history of working directly with service providers in the college classroom and in the field. As a participant in development of policies and regulations, she has served as President of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, member of the Idaho Child Care Program Advisory
Board, and President of the Lewis Clark Early Childhood Board. Her work earned the University of Idaho Teaching Award and the Outreach and Engagement Award, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Award, and Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children 2009 Sticking Your Neck Out for Children Award.

Janice Fletcher.jpg

SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD - Associate Professor/Business Owner/Communications Specialist

SeAnne Safaii, PhD, RDN, LD is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Idaho. She is a nutrition communications professional, a registered dietitian, educator and Co-Owner of Nutrition and Wellness Associates.

She has worked extensively in the child nutrition field and is currently conducting research on aging and how early childhood meal time experiences and food preferences have influenced aging, specifically as it relates to centenarians and cognitive decline. SeAnne has published in various research journals and authored textbook chapters. Her work has been featured in the Food & Nutrition Magazine, Today’s Dietitian and She loves sharing nutrition information in the media, writes for several newspapers, and makes appearances on local television networks. SeAnne recently completed a TEDx Talk on “The Road to 100”.  She is co-author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide and they are currently working on a book investigating the dietary practices of centenarians. You can follow them on their website Her leadership in dietetics has been recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with the Young Dietitian of the Year Award, the Outstanding Dietitian Award, and most recently the University of Idaho Community Outreach and Engagement award. She is a member of Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society.

An important aspect of SeAnne’s life is family -- her husband, children and recent additions--grand babies. Together they lead a very active lifestyle cycling, running, skiing, and just about anything that gets them outdoors.  She hopes’ to see her 100th birthday!