Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 341

P13-083 - How Parents Communicate with their Family Child Care Home Provider Regarding Foods Young Children Are Eating

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objective: Communication between child care providers and parents is important to support healthy eating habits in young children. However, there is limited evidence as to how parents communicate with child care providers regarding what children are eating. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore how parents communicate with their Family Child Care Home (FCCH) provider about foods served and consumed in the FCCH.

Five focus groups were held with caregivers (n=25) of preschool-aged children attending Rhode Island FCCHs where food was provided. Participants were eligible to participate if they were at least 18 years old, had a 2-5-year-old child attending a RI FCCH, and spoke English or Spanish. Audio-recordings were transcribed, and uploaded to Microsoft NVivo 11® to assist in the identification of themes by two bilingual coders. Content analysis and axial coding were used for analysis and theme extraction.

The majority of participants were Hispanic (95%), female (84%), and on average 33 years old. Speaking over the phone, and in person during drop-off and pick-up were reported as the most common ways parents communicated with their FCCH provider. How parents received information on what children were eating in the FCCH was inconsistent. Some reported receiving weekly menus, others reported seeing the menu posted within the FCCH, or asking their child what they ate. Parents that reported awareness of the foods served in the FCCH said they found it easier to prepare meals at home, and stated that foods eaten at home were similar to the foods served in the FCCH. Overall, parents felt the foods served were healthy but usually only inquired if the child ate well, instead of what the child ate. Most parents reported little concern over the types of foods being served, stating that they trusted that what their providers were serving was healthy, and enough food. Limited time to speak with the FCCH provider was reported. However, parents stated that their FCCH provider would always contact them if there were child concerns.

Communication about the foods served and consumed in the FCCH is limited. Future studies should explore strategies to foster consistent parent and provider communication about the foods served and consumed in FCCHs to support healthy eating habits in young children.

Funding Source:

Research supported by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HL123016. Findings are solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

CoAuthors: Patricia Risica, DrPH – Brown University; Kim Gans, PhD, MPH, LDN – University of Connecticut; Ingrid Lofgren, PhD, MPH, RD – University of Rhode Island; Kathleen Gorman, PhD – University of Rhode Island; Fatima Tobar – University of Rhode Island; Alison Tovar, PhD, MPH – University of Rhode Island

Noereem Z. Mena

PhD Graduate Research Assistant
University of Rhode Island
Warwick, Rhode Island