Published: July 2020

ID #: 74373

Journal: Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association

Authors: Cotwright C, Hall J, Arrington NM, Celestin N, Sanders H, Ragan T, Stotz S, Birch L

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Identifying strategies to assist children in establishing healthy habits is essential to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. The Early Care and Education (ECE) setting is ideal for the implementation of obesity prevention practices. However, there are barriers present for implementing nutrition policies in this setting. This report explores the implementation of food and beverage best practices in the ECE setting and highlights barriers to and facilitators for adopting these policies. We conducted 24 interviews and 6 focus groups with ECE program directors and teachers in 6 regions in Georgia. The statewide sample included directors from child care learning centers, family child care homes, and license-exempt programs. Several key themes related to barriers to food and beverage policy implementation emerged including the need for: 1) enhanced parent communication, 2) resources to limit juice consumption, and 3) financial support to decrease food costs. Facilitators of nutrition policy implementation included: 1) ease of access to water, 2) children’s preferences for fruits and vegetables, and 3) availability of existing nutrition resources. Findings will inform the development of resources to support nutrition policy implementation as well as policy training for ECE teachers in Georgia.

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