Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 278
Objectives: To explore the relationship between 3 feeding practice constructs (role modeling, encouragement, and pressure to eat) of family child care providers (FCCP), and fruit and vegetable intake of the preschool-aged children in their care.
Methods: Baseline data, collected during a two-day home visit from an ongoing cluster-randomized trial, Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos, were used (n=61 homes). Feeding practice data were collected using the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation (EPAO) tool. Child dietary intake was collected using the Dietary Observation in Child Care (DOCC) protocol. A score for each construct was created by summing the relevant feeding practice items (averaged across two days) for each and averaging across the number of items. Child whole fruit, total fruit (whole fruit plus fruit juice), and vegetable intake were averaged across both observation days and across all children observed within a home. Pearson's correlations were used to examine the relationship between FCCP feeding practice constructs and diet variables.
Results: The majority of providers identified as Hispanic/Latina (78%), all were female, and the mean age of providers was 50.4±8.5 years. The majority of children were Hispanic/Latino (68%), and about half were female (52%). The mean age of children was 3.4±1.0 years. Mean whole fruit intake was 0.12±0.20 cups/day, mean total fruit intake was 1.35±1.07 cups/day, and mean vegetable intake was 0.54±0.41 cups/day. Provider encouragement and pressure to eat were both significantly positively correlated with child vegetable intake (r=0.27, p=0.03, and r=0.25, p=0.05, respectively). No other provider practices were significantly correlated with child whole fruit, total fruit, or vegetable intake.
Conclusions: Both FCCP encouragement and pressure to eat were positively associated with vegetable intake. While pressuring children to eat is typically seen as a negative practice, higher vegetable intake is a positive outcome. Future studies should further explore the relationship between pressure to eat and less-healthy foods as well as the longitudinal impact of this type of feeding on diet over time. With this information, interventions can be better tailored to improve the diets of young children.
University of Rhode Island