Start Date: December 2011

ID #: CAS008

Organization: California Food Policy Advocates

Project Lead: Ellen Braff-Guajardo, JD, MEd

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Goals of promoting water in child care include enabling children at an early age to become accustomed to drinking water as the beverage of choice for quenching thirst, and helping to develop the life-long healthy habit of consuming non-caloric water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. To address water availability in this setting, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates that all child-care facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provide free drinking water throughout the day, including at meal times. Additionally, a new California statute, AB 2084, effective January 2012, established a similar requirement for all licensed child-care facilities as a part of a new set of beverages standards. This research project sought to: 1) determine how to reconcile the new federal and California laws requiring water availability in child-care settings with concerns of some practitioners that water might displace valuable milk and food consumption, and 2) to develop recommendations on best practices for promoting water intake to children in child-care settings to alleviate those concerns. The research team completed a scientific literature review including published studies as well as unpublished sources such as research websites and scientific conference abstracts and proceedings. They then convened approximately thirty experts and stakeholders to review the research findings, comment on the best practices and recommendations, and suggest revisions. The focus of the discussion was on young children ages 1 to 5 years. Input from this convening informed the development of recommended best practices for provision of water to preschool-age children in the child-care setting.

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