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
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