P72 Examining Perceptions of Obesity-Related Training Opportunities and Needs for Head Start Health/Nutrition Managers


      Head Start (HS) health/nutrition managers have identified obesity as the top health concern for their preschool children. However, little information exists related to perceived training needs and professional development (PD) training opportunities available for HS managers around obesity and related measurements.


      To examine perceptions of obesity-related PD training needs and opportunities reported by Ohio Head Start health/nutrition program managers.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Phenomenology was utilized for this research study. Semi-structured, in-depth telephone interviews (n = 13) were conducted with HS Health and Nutrition Managers across Ohio who were recruited via emails distributed by the HS Director of Professional Development.

      Outcome Measure/Analysis

      Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Open coding of transcripts was conducted by trained qualitative researchers. Significant statements were coded, defined, and organized into themes. Themes enabled the description of the types of opportunities and needs (the “what” and “how”) of the phenomenon.


      Researchers identified 5 themes. Themes around professional development opportunities included attending professional health conferences (eg nursing/nutrition/early childhood/health) as part of the professional continuing education requirements; online food and nutrition-focused trainings (eg, webinars) through state and national resources, such as USDA; health-related trainings as part of professional development days organized by Head Start programs; and networking as informal education from internal staff, RD consultants, and partnerships with local universities and WIC. Participants identified a lack of knowledge and training specific to the understanding of BMI, BMI-for-age growth charts, and skills around BMI measurement.


      There are a number of general nutrition, food, and health-related trainings from a variety of sources (professional organizations, USDA, Head Start), but there is a need identified for training to improve knowledge and skills specific to BMI and its measurement (height/weight) in preschoolers, and the interpretation of BMI-for-age growth charts.
      Funding Miami University College of Education, Health & Society.

      Appendix. Supplementary data