This study will evaluate nutrition and physical activity practices and policies of licensed child-care centers that enroll 3- to 5-year-old children in the three Southern states with the highest childhood obesity rates—Mississippi, Georgia, and Kentucky—and assess differences in practices and policies by geographic region (e.g., rural/urban), center characteristics (e.g., Child and Adult Care Food Program/non-Child and Adult Care Food Program participation, Head Start/non-Head Start programs), and strength of state regulations. The investigators will conduct a cross-sectional study of 342 centers (82 in Mississippi, 150 in Georgia, 110 in Kentucky). Data on the general nutrition and physical activity practices and policies of participating centers will be collected through surveys completed by the director and two preschool teachers for each center, and an independent review of center policy documents to assess the presence/absence of written policies about these practices. In addition, investigators will complete a quantitative analysis to determine whether current state regulations provide sufficient guidance on nutrition and physical activity practices in child-care centers. Findings from the project will help stakeholders better understand how child-care center practices and policies influence children’s diets and physical activity behaviors, particularly in limited-resource centers and those that serve significant numbers of children in the racial/ethnic and lower-income populations at greatest risk for obesity.
Assessing Nutrition and Physical Activity Practices and Policies of Child-Care Centers in States with the Highest Obesity Rates
Toddler drinks are a relatively new product category, typically offered by infant formula manufacturers and promoted as beneficial for young children ages 12 months and older. Marketing promotes these drinks as the “next step” after infant formula, using claims that imply unproven benefits for children’s nutrition and health. However, these drinks … More
Improving the actionable research base for health equity in breastfeeding by assessing an intervention to increase rates in minority populations
Breastfeeding equity is a critical component of nutrition-related equity. Breastfeeding rates in the United States are strongly correlated with poverty and race. Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) is a multi-sectoral, policy, system, and environmental initiative which has significantly increased breastfeeding rates among black populations. CHAMPS was launched in … More
Understanding the lost opportunity of the Child and Adult Care Food Program in improving child nutrition and reducing health inequities
The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays a large role in supporting nutrition in child care settings, specifically targeting these benefits to low-income populations. Foods provided to children participating in CACFP programs must meet specific nutrition standards in order to be reimbursed with federal funds. This study … More