Food and Nutrition Policy| Volume 52, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S71, July 2020

P116 Serving Their Needs: Nutrition Policy Implementation in the Early Care and Education Setting

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      Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States and results in increased risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Thirteen percent of youth in Georgia are obese. Identifying strategies to assist children in establishing healthy habits is essential to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. The Early Care and Education (ECE) setting is ideal for the implementation of obesity prevention practices. However, there are barriers present for implementing nutrition policies in this setting.


      The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the implementation of food and beverage best practices in the ECE setting and highlight barriers and facilitators to adopting these policies.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      The study sample included ECE teachers in Georgia serving children ages 0-5. A randomized, stratified sample of facilities was selected. Researchers conducted 24 interviews and 6 focus groups with ECE program directors and teachers in 6 regions in Georgia. A trained qualitative researcher facilitated focus groups and interviews.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Data were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative data analysis software, NVivo 10, was used to code data and identify emergent themes.


      Several key themes related to barriers against food and beverage policy implementation emerged, including the need for enhanced parent communication, resources to limit juice consumption, and support to decrease food costs. Facilitators of nutrition policy implementation included ease of access to water, children's preferences for fruits and vegetables, and availability of existing nutrition resources. Findings will inform the development of resources to support nutrition policy implementation as well as policy training for ECE teachers in Georgia.


      Study findings may provide insight about how to improve current resources and develop new strategies to promote adoption and implementation of nutrition policies in the ECE setting.


      Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.