222878 Challenges and opportunities in implementing Delaware's nutrition and physical activity standards for child care: Findings from focus groups with providers and parents

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Vivian Gabor, MPH , Policy, Planning, and Evaluation/ Childhood Obesity Mission Project, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Karah Mantinan, MPH, RD , Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Kara Rudolph, MPH , Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Ruth Morgan, MPH , Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Delaware recently enacted enhanced nutrition and physical activity standards as part of its child care licensing regulations and nutrition standards for the Child and Adult Care Food Program. These policies promote child health and prevent obesity by improving access to healthier foods and physical activity in child care settings. Approximately 1400 child care centers and homes are affected by Delaware's standards.

This study explores how providers and parents have responded to the new standards and what they need to help them comply. Ten focus groups were held with 83 providers and parents. In-depth qualitative analyses were performed.

Key findings include: There is widespread support for the goals of Delaware's child care standards. Providers' common challenges include: meal planning, preparation, and shopping; inadequate capacity developmentally appropriate, physical activity; financial and time constraints; and staff and parent resistance. Providers strategies for implementing the standards include: preparing meals in a kid-friendly way, obtaining assistance from store staff, buying in bulk, engaging staff in lesson and meal planning, and holding family-oriented educational events. Providers have concrete suggestions for training and other supports they need to comply with these standards.

Helping child care providers comply with nutrition and physical activity standards for child care hinges on the availability of adequate training, informational materials, and other practical resources including those needed to gain support and engagement of staff and parents. Compliance can also be promoted through public policies and public/private partnerships that improve provider access to healthy foods, physical activity equipment, and outdoor play space.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the goals of the enhanced nutrition and physical activity standards in Delaware. Identify the types of challenges providers have been facing in implementing these standards. Describe promising strategies child care center and home providers have been using to improve the nutritional quality of the meals they serve and provide increased physical activity opportunities for young children Describe the content and format of training and other supports needed to promote healthy eating and increased physical activity in child care settings.

Keywords: Child Care, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the director, lead author, and one of two focus group moderators for this study, I am uniquely qualified to present the methodology and findings. As the director of several research and technical assistance projects on nutrition and physical activity in child care, I am also qualified to present the study's policy and practice implications nationally. Additionally, I have more than 12 years experience in designing and conducting needs assessment research, process evaluations, and in the design, conduct and analysis of focus group research for a variety of food and nutrition and maternal and child health programs at the community, state and national level.
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.