Online Program

Onsite Technical Assistance and Healthy Policies in Early Care and Education

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:40 p.m.

Jamie Turner, MPH, Columbus Public Health, Columbus, OH
Cheryl Graffagnino, MS, RD, LD, Chronic Disease Prevention, Columbus Public Health, Columbus, OH
Alex Smith, MCRP, Healthy Children Healthy Weights, Columbus Public Health, Columbus, OH
Background: Columbus Public Health’s (CPH) Healthy Children, Healthy Weights (HCHW) program is an early childhood obesity prevention initiative in Columbus, Ohio. Through onsite technical assistance (TA), HCHW helps centers implement change in five key areas: 1) healthy eating habits, 2) physical activity, 3) screen time, 4) breastfeeding and 5) water first for thirst. Between January 2011 and December 2014, HCHW provided 302 TA visits to 97 centers. Nutrition and/or physical activity policies were adopted and implemented by 66 of the 97 centers.

Intervention: HCHW provides TA to childcare centers to help them achieve the Ohio Healthy Programs (OHP) designation, a recognition of centers that provide a healthy environment for children. The TA process includes three onsite visits. The first TA includes a center tour and review of menus and policies.  TA visit 2 includes suggested policy language and menu recommendations.  TA visit 3 entails policy and menu change review.  

Results: Between January 2011 and December 2014, ­­­­­97 centers have participated in TA. Sixty-six centers (68%) have adopted and implemented policies as a result of TA.  On average, centers implemented 17.3 (min:4; max:36) nutrition, and/or physical activity policies. The mean number of physical activity policies implemented is 5.1 (min:1; max:14). The mean number of nutrition policies implemented is 12.2 (min:2; max:25). 63 centers implemented both nutrition and physical activity policies while 3 centers implemented only nutrition policies.

Conclusions: Onsite technical assistance is an effective method for adoption and implementation of healthy policies in early care and education centers.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Describe an onsite technical assistance model for engaging early care and education providers in the adoption and implementation of healthy policies. Identify opportunities to incorporate an onsite technical assistance model into local early childhood obesity prevention efforts in early care and education settings.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health. I have four years experience working on Policy, System, and Environment approaches to obesity and chronic disease prevention at Columbus Public Health. I have managed the Healthy Children Healthy Weights program since January 2013. I am a Master Trainer on the Ohio Healthy Program curriculum for early care and education providers, which carries Quality Improvement Rating System credit for early learning professionals.
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.