Poster Topical Area: Policy
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 852
Objectives. Because one-quarter of children are overweight or obese by the time they enter kindergarten, licensed childcare, where nearly one million California preschoolers receive much of their daily nutrition, provides a key opportunity for obesity prevention. The first major revisions to the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) nutrition standards go into effect by October 2018. In California, the Healthy Beverages in Childcare Act also applies; it includes standards on water, 100% juice, milk and sugary drinks. The aim of this study was to assess compliance and barriers to implementing these standards.
Methods. In 2008, 2012 and 2016 we conducted statewide surveys (>400 sites per timepoint, 30% response rate, randomly selected from state databases) of foods and beverages served in licensed childcare centers and home in California. In addition, sixteen interviews were conducted with childcare stakeholders to better understand barriers and facilitators to compliance. Finally, results were shared with a convening of experts to inform policy and program next steps.
Results. Compliance was assessed on eight CACFP standards for children 1-5 years old and seven CACFP standards for infants under 12 months old. Compliance in 2016 was fairly high (over 60% of sample) for most individual standards, more so for sites that participate in CACFP compared to those that do not. However, compliance for all CACFP standards was relatively low (under 15%). Compliance was highest for beverage standards covered by both the state and federal policy. Using logistic regression, compliance with all four beverage standards increased significantly (P<0.05) since 2008. Parent and child preferences were factors most often identified as barriers to implementing standards.
Conclusion. Opportunities identified to support compliance included: increasing funding for nutrition; establishing technical assistance grants for providers to learn how best to communicate standards to families; updating state licensing regulations to reflect new CACFP standards; and ensuring administrative flexibility and streamlining.
Director and CE Specialist
Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California