204226 Water and other beverages in preschools: Accessibility and availability during the school day

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:30 PM

Ann E. Bellenger, MPH , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Kristen Scott, BA , Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Kathryn E. Henderson, PhD , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
To stem the epidemic of obesity among young children in the United States, many suggest replacing high-calorie beverages with low- or no-calorie beverages such as water. However, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) preschool guidelines include 100% fruit juice as a reimbursable food item. Given that 82% of preschool-aged children receive care outside the home it is important to assess access to water and high-calorie beverages such as fruit juice in preschools to determine the feasibility of intervention or policy change on this level.

Purpose: To systematically observe beverage nutritional quality, accessibility, and promotion in low-income preschools in Connecticut.

Design: A stratified random sample of 40 CACFP-participating preschools was selected for on-site observations. Beverage availability, serving style and promotion were systematically observed in the classroom, on the playground and during lunch. Each preschool's menu was coded for beverages served during breakfast, lunch and snack. Beverage policies in the staff and parent handbook were coded for their breadth and strength.

Results: Cross-tabulations of water, milk, juice drink, 100% juice and sports drink consumption by meal type will be presented. Accessibility to water in the classroom and on the playground will be reviewed. Predictors of beverage quality such as type and strength of beverage policies and preschool type will be discussed.

Discussion: We offer recommendations in the following areas: (1) Changes to CACFP requirements that improve beverage quality and promotion in low-income preschools; and (2) Strategies for making water more accessible to children throughout the school day.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how preschool policy breadth and strength are associated with beverage availability. Name the different ways preschools provide access to drinking water and other beverages throughout the day. List the different ways teachers promote beverage consumption.

Keywords: Child Care, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: From 2004-2006 I worked on various communication and community mobilization campaign assessing and addressing childhood obesity. In 2006 I returned to school for my MPH. I studied social behavioral science, and focused on nutrition and community health planning in my coursework. I now work with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity on various projects assessing school and community nutrition environments and the policies and economies that influence nutrition quality.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.