This paper describes the results of the first national study to describe Head Start program practices in three areas: assessing body mass index (BMI), addressing food insecurity, and determining children’s portion sizes. Researchers found that nearly all programs (99.5%) reported obtaining height and weight data, but not all calculated BMI or discussed height and weight measurements with families. Many program directors reported that their staff saw children who appeared not to be getting enough food to eat at home, and described subsequent forms of direct and indirect assistance provided to the families. Differing strategies were reported for how programs determined portion size, including food arriving already portioned on children’s plates (6%), staff determining portion sizes for children (39%), and programs allowing children to decide their own portions (55%).
Obesity and Food Insecurity at the Same Table: How Head Start Programs Respond
This article describes obesity prevention activities directed at staff, parents and community partners in Head Start, the United States’ largest federally-funded early childhood education program. On the bases of survey data, researchers found that 60% of responding Head Start programs trained staff about feeding children, and 63% trained staff about … More
This article details findings gleaned from a national survey of all directors of Head Start, a program that provides early childhood education to nearly one million lower-income children, approximately one third of whom are obese. With respect to implementing policies and practices to address obesity, program directors identified three key … More
This article summarizes obesity prevention practices and environments within Head Start, the United States’ largest federally-funded early childhood education program. On the basis of survey data, researchers found that most Head Start programs report doing more to support healthy eating and gross motor activity than required by federal performance standards … More
The aim of this study is to describe eating environments and policies in Head Start at the national level, examining their variation by program characteristics. In partnership with DHHS and USDA, this project will develop a survey to describe eating environments and policies in Head Start (including issues such as … More