Assessment of Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Practices in Oklahoma Child-Care Centers

Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory, Department of NutritionalSciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1200 N Stonewall Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1215, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Impact Factor: 2.44). 08/2012; 112(8):1230-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of the current study was to determine the obesogenic practices in all-day child-care centers caring for preschool-aged children. This study used a cross-sectional, self-reported survey mailed to centers across Oklahoma (n=314). Frequency of responses and χ(2) were calculated comparing region and star rating. Items where the majority of centers frequently report best practices include: daily fruits served (76%), daily nonfried vegetables served (71%), rarely/never served sugary drinks (92%), rarely/never used food to encourage good behaviors (88%), staff join children at table most of the time (81%), staff rarely eat different foods in view of children (69%), visible self-serve or request availability of water (93%), regular informal communication about healthy eating (86%), opportunities for outdoor play (95%), not withholding activity for punishment (91%), accessible play equipment (59% to 80% for different types of equipment), and minimization of extended sitting time (78%). Practices where centers can improve include increasing variety of vegetables (18%), reducing frequency of high-fat meats served (74% serve more than once per week), increasing high-fiber and whole-grain foods (35% offer daily), serving style of "seconds" (28% help kids determine whether they are still hungry), nonfood holiday celebrations (44% use nonfood treats), having toys and books that encourage healthy eating (27%) and physical activity (25%) in all rooms in the center, a standard nutrition (21%) and physical education (50%) curriculum, and following a written physical activity policy (43%). Practitioners can use these data to develop benchmarks and interventions, as this was the first study to assess statewide obesogenic practices in child care.

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