The role of child care settings in obesity prevention.

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, USA.
The Future of Children (Impact Factor: 1.98). 02/2006; 16(1):143-68. DOI: 10.1353/foc.2006.0010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mary Story, Karen Kaphingst, and Simone French argue that researchers and policymakers focused on childhood obesity have paid insufficient attention to child care. Although child care settings can be a major force in shaping children's dietary intake, physical activity, and energy balance-and thus in combating the childhood obesity epidemic-researchers know relatively little about either the nutrition or the physical activity environment in the nation's child care facilities. What research exists suggests that the nutritional quality of meals and snacks may be poor and activity levels may be inadequate. Few uniform standards apply to nutrition or physical activity offerings in the nation's child care centers. With the exception of the federal Head Start program, child care facilities are regulated by states, and state rules vary widely. The authors argue that weak state standards governing physical activity and nutrition represent a missed opportunity to combat obesity. A relatively simple measure, such as specifying how much time children in day care should spend being physically active, could help promote healthful habits among young children. The authors note that several federal programs provide for the needs of low-income children in child care. The Child and Adult Care Food Program, administered by the Department of Agriculture, provides funds for meals and snacks for almost 3 million children in child care each day. Providers who receive funds must serve meals and snacks that meet certain minimal standards, but the authors argue for toughening those regulations so that meals and snacks meet specific nutrient-based standards. The authors cite Head Start, a federal preschool program serving some 900,000 low-income infants and children up to age five, as a model for other child care programs as it has federal performance standards for nutrition. Although many child care settings fall short in their nutritional and physical activity offerings, they offer untapped opportunities for developing and evaluating effective obesity-prevention strategies to reach both children and their parents.

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    ABSTRACT: Background. The continuing rise of obesity among Latinos is a public health concern with an immediate need for early prevention. Changes in family structures have increased demand and reliance for child care for young children. Latino children are the fastest-growing segment of the child population in the United States, and research shows that Latino families use preschools and day care centers much less than those of other ethnic groups, apparently because of cultural preferences for family-like care. Objectives. Given that many low income Latino children attend family child care homes (FCCHs), there is a need to explore the role that FCCH providers may play in establishing and reinforcing children's early healthful eating and physical activity behaviors and consequently in the prevention of childhood obesity. Design. Using purposive sampling, six focus groups were conducted in Spanish with licensed Latino FCCH providers (n = 44). Data was analyzed to identify recurrent themes. Results. Latino FCCH providers described how they play an influential role in promoting healthful eating and physical activity behaviors of preschool children in their care. They also identified many barriers and challenges in establishing and maintaining healthful nutrition and physical activity behaviors, including high cost of healthy foods, cold weather, and physical environment of FCCH. Conclusions. Latino FCCH providers can have a strong impact in promoting healthful behaviors in low-income, Latino communities. They may be able to effectively deliver interventions targeting low-income, minority families to promote healthful eating and physical activity behaviors and prevent child obesity.
    Journal of obesity 01/2015; 2015:409742. DOI:10.1155/2015/409742
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    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 12/2014; 38(6). DOI:10.1111/1753-6405.12312 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current obesity rates in young children are a serious public health concern; developing and implementing obesity prevention interventions in childcare settings is a promising avenue to address this issue. In recent years, there has been increasing focus on environmental and policy change interventions for this setting. Improving access to and quality of outdoor play spaces and implementing the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) are two promising environmental change strategies in this setting. Laws at the local, state, and federal level have also been implemented; New York City and Delaware are two jurisdictions that have passed policies and provided preliminary evidence of the potential of policy interventions to change child outcomes. A combination of programmatic, environmental , and policy change strategies will likely be most effective in maximizing the potential of childcare settings to promote healthy weight in children.
    04/2015; 4. DOI:10.1007/s13679-015-0154-y


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