Participation in an Obesity Prevention Intervention Improves Diet Quality of 2-5 Year Old Children Cared for in Family Childcare Homes: Results from the Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos Trial

Kim M. Gans, PhD, MPH1, Alison Tovar, PhD2, Noereem Mena, MS2, Kristen Cooksey Stowers, PhD3, Qianxia Jiang4, Laura Dionne, MS5, Jennifer Mello, MPH1 and Patricia Risica, DrPH1
(1)Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, (2)University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, (3)University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Hartford, CT, (4)University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, (5)Brown School of Public Health, Providence, RI

APHA's 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo (Nov. 2 - Nov. 6)

Introduction: Family childcare homes (FCCHs) are the second-most utilized form of U.S. childcare and may be more obesogenic than childcare centers. Yet, little intervention research has been conducted in this setting.

Methods: Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos is an ongoing cluster randomized trial in FCCHs to help family childcare providers (FCCPs) improve the diet and physical activity of 2-5 year old children in their care. FCCPs complete two surveys and undergo two days of FCCH observation at baseline and 8 months. The intervention arm receives obesity prevention interventions and the control arm receives reading readiness interventions. This analysis examines preliminary changes from baseline to 8 months in observed children’s diet quality by experimental condition (measured by Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI)) using ANOVA models.

Results: 120 FCCP enrolled in the study (100% female, 72% Hispanic). As of January 2019, 51 FCCPs completed follow-ups. Data collection continues until June 2019. Preliminary results suggest that the intervention group has significantly greater changes than the control group in total HEI scores (5.79 vs. -1.40 p = 0.008), and trends in some HEI component scores, i.e. total fruit (.018 vs. -0.34 p< 0.11); total vegetable (0.84 vs. -0.18, p<.07); and saturated fats (0.54 vs. -0.61 p<0.11). More statistical power with the full sample should clarify and strengthen these results.

Discussion: The Healthy Start intervention is improving the dietary quality of preschool children in FCCHs, which has important implications for future interventions, training and policy. The presentation will also discuss changes in children’s physical activity by experimental condition.

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