244839 Nutrition practices of child care centers in Georgia: Results from a pilot intervention

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:48 AM

Joyce Maalouf, MS, MPH , Division for heart disease and stroke prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Sarah Connell, BA , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Background: A large proportion of children are now spending more time in child care (CC) centers than in the past. As a result, children today consume a large proportion of their daily energy intake at CC facilities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a wellness policy implementation program on the nutrition practices of twenty-four CC centers in Georgia.

Methods: The study was designed to test the feasibility, acceptability, and environmental change impact of a one-year wellness policy implementation program to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments in CC centers. Each center provided a sample one week menu on a quarterly basis. The energy and nutrient contents were analyzed using Nutrikids. Food groups offered through center meals were assessed using a menu rubric based on MyPyramid guidelines.

Results: Baseline data show that children were served a mean of 883 kcal at three meals (breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks). Children are not consuming recommended amounts of whole grains or vegetables while attending full-time childcare, and are consuming excess amounts of sodium, saturated fat and added sugar. By the end of the intervention, it is expected that the nutrition practices at the centers will improve significantly.

Discussion: Child care settings provide a unique opportunity to influence children's dietary behaviors and health. Findings from this study and the policy recommendations that emerge could significantly impact efforts to provide healthier nutrition and physical activity environments to children in child care centers.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the nutrition environment and foods provided in licensed child care centers in rural Georgia. 2. Describe child care center meal patterns relative to national recommendations. 3. Evaluate the impact of a one year wellness policy implementation program on the nutrition practices of the childcare centers in Georgia.

Keywords: Child Care, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the coordinator of this research project and participated implementation and analysis. I also have developed and executed the work to be presented. As the Obesity Research Director at the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University, I am the project manager on the Policy Leadership for Active Youth (PLAY) initiative among other projects on childhood obesity. I obtained by MS degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the American University of Beirut.
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.