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Responsive feeding (RF) practices by parents are vital for shaping healthy eating behaviors of children. Due to the increasingly shared feeding responsibility between parents and early childhood teachers, early care and education (ECE) settings have been cited as a key avenue for childhood obesity prevention. Still, little is known about teachers’ use of RF practices. Research examining feeding practices of teachers in ECE settings has relied on modifying self-report tools that assess parental feeding practices. Existing parental RF measures and domains are not automatically valid within ECE settings. No observational instrument has been developed specifically to assess RF practices in ECE settings.
To develop an observational coding scheme specific for use in ECE settings to assess teachers’ RF practices with infants.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
An iterative observational design to develop the coding scheme included independent and group observations in three infant classrooms during mealtimes over a five-month period. Teacher feeding behaviors were mapped onto existing domains of parental RF utilizing Satter's Division of Responsibility as a theoretical framework. Commonly observed RF behaviors provided a coding scheme pilot. Utilizing the coding scheme, two mealtimes were video-recorded, independently coded, and discussed as a team to refine the coding scheme.
Observed RF practices in ECE settings. Inductive and deductive analysis of visual data.
Preliminary findings suggest the RF domains of Restriction, Pressure to Eat, Encouragement, and Praise represent salient teacher behaviors frequently observed within ECE infant classrooms.
This RF observational coding scheme is specific for ECE settings. Further refinement and validation with larger data collections across multiple ECE settings will be conducted to assess provider feeding practices. Such evidence will create new opportunities to improve RF education, implementation, and practice.
US Department of Health and Human Services.
© 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc.