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P27 Contextual Factors Influence Childcare Providers’ Barriers for Serving Healthy Meals to Preschool Children.

      Background

      The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and other national policies recommend serving healthy foods and beverages in childcare settings to promote healthy eating behaviors and prevent childhood obesity. However, childcare providers have reported several barriers to serving healthy foods and beverages to the children. To address the barriers, more evidence is needed regarding the contextual factors associated with the childcare providers’ tendency to report specific barriers.

      Objectives

      To examine contextual factors (geographic location, participation in CACFP, type of childcare program, mealtime practices, and personnel responsible for menu planning) that are related to childcare providers’ perceived barriers to serving healthy foods and beverages to preschool (2 to 5-year-old) children.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Cross-sectional study with a self-reported survey completed by childcare center (CCC) directors (n = 336) and family childcare home (FCCH) providers (n = 1154) from licensed childcare settings (n = 1490) across urban and rural Nebraska.

      Analysis

      Descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression analyses.

      Results

      Rural childcare providers were more likely to report not having enough money to purchase healthy foods and limited storage space as barriers as compared to their urban counterparts. CACFP-funded settings reported not having enough money, not knowing which recommendation to follow, unsure which foods can be reimbursed through CACFP, and lack of availability of healthy foods as compared to the non-CACFP settings. Participants reporting lower frequency of professional development on nutrition were more likely to report barriers of not having enough money and not knowing which recommendation to follow. Barrier regarding lack of availability of healthy foods was associated with providers’ residing in food deserts, receiving less professional development and being CACFP-participants. Lack of time was reported as a barrier when FCCH providers and CCC owners or directors were responsible for menu planning.

      Conclusions

      Considering contextual factors influencing providers’ barriers can improve healthy food availability in childcare.
      Funding: USDA.

      Appendix. Supplementary data