223832 Facilitating a Healthy Food Environment in the Child Care Setting: A Professional Training for Child Care Providers

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Laura Seman, MPH , National Program Manager, Operation Frontline, Share Our Strength, Washington, DC
Janet McLaughlin, MPA , National Program Director, Operation Frontline, Share Our Strength, Washington, DC
Christine Berman, MPH, RD , Operation Frontline, Share Our Strength, Washington, DC
Leigh Ann Edwards, MPH, RD , National Program Senior Manager, Operation Frontline, Share Our Strength, Charlotte, NC
Studies suggest that meals served in child care settings, even those that meet the minimum federal standards, often do not meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and may be related to the growing problem of poor nutrition and obesity in childhood. Child care providers, especially those offering services in their own homes, face many of the same challenges as parents in creating healthy meals with limited resources. In response to this need, Share Our Strength's Operation Frontline developed Eating Smart from the Start, a modular training designed to empower child care providers to plan, prepare, and serve healthy meals within limited resources and create a healthy food environment for the kids in their care. Program development included research of local child care resource networks, state training requirements, and federal standards. Modeled after other Operation Frontline programs, this training offers child care providers interactive, skills-based exercises in the kitchen, facilitated dialogue about the challenges of food budgeting and meal preparation within the home-based childcare setting, and simple strategies to engender positive food attitudes among children. A retrospective pre-post test is used to capture quantitative and qualitative data on short-term outcomes such as changes in cooking skill, self-efficacy for creating healthy mealtimes for children, confidence in engaging kids in meal preparation, and healthy shopping habits. A complete set of results will be presented and discussion will highlight lessons learned from Eating Smart from the Start that can strengthen other trainings for child care providers.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify Operation Frontline’s Eating Smart from the Start as a skills-based professional training offering cooking, food budgeting, and nutrition education for child care providers. Describe program results from Eating Smart from the Start that show a positive impact on providers’ ability to create a healthy food environment for children in their care, improve the quality and variety of foods served, and improve food safety practices in this setting. Identify opportunities to provide, support, and/or broaden the reach of cooking-based nutrition training for child care professionals.

Keywords: Child Care, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage programming for a national cooking-based nutrition education program, and have 23 years experience as a registered dietitian with a Masters Degree in Public Health.
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.