Strengthening Home-Based Child Care Policies to Promote Healthy Environments: Results from the Eat Well Play Hard with Day Care Homes Pilot Program
The prevalence of obesity in children ages 2-5 has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Home-based childcare providers serve 1.9 million young children, which represents an opportunity to influence their eating and activity habits. The New York State Department of Health implemented the Eat Well Play Hard with Day Care Homes program to train home-based childcare providers to improve nutrition and increase physical activity for children in care. A key program objective was to help providers strengthen their program policies to promote healthy home-based childcare environments.
Written policies from 97 providers were collected, rated, and analyzed before and after program participation. Policies were rated using the validated Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool and scored for strength and comprehensiveness in six areas: nutrition education, nutrition standards, promoting wellness, physical activity, communication, and infant/toddler feeding.
Provider policies improved significantly in comprehensiveness (F(2,184)=9.33, p<.001) and strength (F(2,184)=7.80, p<.003) across all topic areas from before to after program participation. Notable improvements were seen in policies regarding nutrition education (comprehensiveness: F(2,184)=9.99, p<.001; strength: F(2,184)=5.95, p<.01), nutrition standards for foods and beverages (comprehensiveness: F(2,184)=7.21, p<.01; strength: F(2,184)=6.13, p<.02), and physical activity (comprehensiveness: F(2,184)=4.58, p<.02; strength: F(2,184)=6.02, p<.02).
Strong and clear childcare policies regarding nutrition and physical activity are a first step in creating healthier environments for young children outside of the home. Program training and technical assistance helped home-based childcare providers strengthen their policies regarding nutrition and physical activity. These findings highlight the importance of training regarding policy revision for childcare providers.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Describe the training provided to home-based childcare providers to help them strengthen program policies. Identify the six areas of the Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool used to rate childcare provider policies. Explain the improvements in childcare provider policies before and after training participation.
Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Policy/Policy Development
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the director of the Eat Well Play Hard with Day Care Homes pilot evaluation and have conducted multiple evaluations of training programs for childcare providers. My research interests include improving childcare and before/afterschool environments to promote nutrition and physical activity for children and families.
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.