Nutritional Assessment of Snacks and Beverages in Southeastern Virginia Daycare Centers

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Abstract

This study sought to determine the nutritional quality of snacks and beverages provided at licensed daycare centers of variable sizes in Southeastern Virginia. This cross-sectional study employed self-report surveys about snack offerings administered at each daycare site that agreed to participate. In addition, researchers completed an observation survey on the day of visit to observe and document the food and beverages actually served at snack time. Although many daycare directors reported serving fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks, there was a poor correlation on the offering of these healthy snacks between researchers and directors (P < .05). Researchers observed salty, caloric dense foods for snack time more frequently than fresh fruits and vegetables. These findings demonstrate the importance of improving and perhaps regulating the quality and diversity of snacks and beverages offered in childcare, as dietary amendments may prevent the development of childhood obesity.

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