Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of



Dipti A. Dev

Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 113:10 (October 2013), pp. 1346–1353; doi:10.1016/j.jand.2013.05.023


Copyright © 2013 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) recommends feeding practices for child-care providers to establish nutrition habits in early childhood to prevent obesity. With >12 million US children in child care, little is known about child-care providers’ feeding practices. The purpose of this study was to examine child-care providers’ feeding practices to assess whether providers met the Academy’s benchmarks and whether attainment of benchmarks varied across child-care contexts (Head Start, Child and Adult Care Food Program [CACFP], and non-CACFP). Cross-sectional data was collected in 2011 and 2012 from 118 child-care providers who completed self-administered surveys regarding their feeding practices for 2- to 5-year-old children. χ2 tests and analysis of variance were used to determine variation across contexts. Head Start providers sat more frequently with children during meals (P = 0.01), ate the same foods as children (P=0.001), and served meals family style (P < 0.0001) more often compared with CACFP and non-CACFP providers. Head Start providers (P = 0.002), parents (P = 0.001), and children (P = 0.01) received more nutrition-education opportunities compared with CACFP and non-CACFP. Head Start providers encouraged more balance and variety of foods (P