Start Date: January 2016

ID #: 73245

Principal Investigator: Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD

Organization: University of California

Funding Round: Round 9

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed updated nutrition standards for foods and beverages served in Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participating child-care centers and homes. This study will contribute to the tracking of successes and challenges following implementation of the new nutrition standards, and will build off of two prior HER-funded studies that evaluated the nutrition of foods and beverages served in California child-care settings. The aims of the current study are to: 1) assess what is served to children ages 0 to 5 in licensed child-care before implementation of new CACFP standards to establish a baseline for comparison with a post-implementation assessment; 2) expand data collection to a new age group, infants and toddlers ages 0 to 24 months; 3) measure improvement in child-care nutrition since the 2008 and 2012 surveys from past HER-funded studies; 4) verify the superiority of nutrition in CACFP sites to those not participating in CACFP; and 5) identify and develop policy options to address barriers to full implementation of new nutrition standards. A survey that includes the types of foods and beverages currently being served, as well as perceived barriers to providing healthier items proposed by the USDA, will be administered to a randomly selected sample of licensed child-care providers in California. Stakeholder interviews will also be conducted to help identify and explain implementation barriers and solutions to those barriers, and a policy convening will be held with child-care providers and administrators, CACFP sponsors, advocates, and policymakers to review and discuss study findings and contribute to the development of policy options.

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