Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of



Dipti A. Dev

Date of this Version



Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (2018)

doi: 10.1016/jjneb.2018.06.009


Copyright © 2018 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior; published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Objective: Determine the predictors of child care providers’ parent engagement regarding child nutrition in child care centers (CCCs) and family child care homes (FCCHs).

Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Child care centers and FCCHs. Participants: Child care center directors (n = 337) and FCCH providers (n = 1,153) completed a self-administered survey.

Main outcome measures: Fifteen variables were examined as predictors for parent engagement: providers’ perceived barriers to communication, participation in Go Nutrition and Physical Self-Assessment in Child Care, National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation, participation in Quality Ratings and Improvement Systems, feeding practices, and professional development.

Analysis: Structural equation modeling examined the relation between variables for CCCs and for FCCHs.

Results: For CCCs, NAEYC accreditation, providers’ perceived barriers regarding parents’ cultural beliefs about food, parents not liking the taste of healthy foods, and parents prioritizing other food-related topics over healthy eating significantly predicted parent engagement. For FCCHs, participation in Go Nutrition and Physical Self-Assessment in Child Care, perceiving parents to be busy, not wanting to offend parents, and practicing family-style dining were significantly related to parent engagement. For both CCCs and FCCHs, professional development regarding child nutrition was related to parent engagement.

Conclusions and implications: Focusing professional development on child care contexts and addressing providers’ perceived barriers may improve parent engagement.