Despite widespread use of child care centers (CCC) and the high prevalence of obesity among preschool-aged children, most states lack CCC nutrition/physical activity policies. The Healthy Caregivers, Healthy Children Phase 2 (HC2) project examines the relationship between the CCC nutrition/physical activity environment and child body mass index (BMI) over one school year.
A total of 24 CCCs serving low resource families with > 50 2-to-5 year olds attending were randomized to an intervention (n=12) or control (n=12) arm. The HC2 intervention arm CCCs receive implementation of a daily curricula for teachers/parents; children; snack, beverage, physical activity, and screen time policies; and technical assistance with menu modifications. Control arm schools receive an attention control safety curriculum. The Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation tool (EPAO) and child height and weight was collected (Fall/2015, Spring/2016).
Mean child BMI increased in control centers from .43 to .55 while it held relatively consistent (.46 to .49) in HC2 treatment over the school year. EPAO total nutrition score improved in the HC2 treatment centers over the school year (12.4 to 13.5) while no change was seen in control schools (12.5 to 12.6). EPAO physical activity scores remained relatively consistent for both treatment and control centers.
Conclusions and Implications
CCC obesity prevention programs that incorporate curriculum and policies to promote healthy eating can support healthy BMI growth trajectories in children.
© 2017 Published by Elsevier Inc.