Participation in theChild and Adult Care Food ProgramIs Associated with Healthier Nutrition Environments at Family Child Care Homes in Mississippi

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Abstract

Objective:

Describe foods and beverages offered, nutrition practices, and nutrition policies of family child care homes in Mississippi and differences by participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Design:

Cross-sectional study conducted between fall, 2015 and spring, 2016.

Setting:

Mississippi.

Participants:

Random, stratified sample of 134 family child care homes that enroll 3- to 5-year-olds. Providers completed a modified version of the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation–self-report tool.

Variables Measured:

Foods and beverages offered at lunch, provider practices regarding nutrition, and presence or absence of written nutrition policies.

Analysis:

Descriptive statistics, likelihood ratio chi-square, and t tests.

Results:

Most homes (>75%) provided components from the fruit, vegetable, grain/bread, meat/meat alternative, and milk food groups at lunch. At some homes, the food and beverage selections offered were high in fat, sugar, and refined grains. Providers at CACFP-participating homes (P < .05) reported healthier beverage selections, more healthful nutrition practices, and more written nutrition policies compared with providers at non-CACFP homes.

Conclusion and Implications:

Interventions and regulatory standards are needed, particularly in non-CACFP homes, to ensure that food and beverage offerings, provider practices, and policies regarding nutrition support the development of healthful dietary behaviors in early childhood.

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