Research Research and Professional Briefs| Volume 112, ISSUE 8, P1230-1240, August 2012

Assessment of Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Practices in Oklahoma Child-Care Centers


      The purpose of the current study was to determine the obesogenic practices in all-day child-care centers caring for preschool-aged children. This study used a cross-sectional, self-reported survey mailed to centers across Oklahoma (n=314). Frequency of responses and χ2 were calculated comparing region and star rating. Items where the majority of centers frequently report best practices include: daily fruits served (76%), daily nonfried vegetables served (71%), rarely/never served sugary drinks (92%), rarely/never used food to encourage good behaviors (88%), staff join children at table most of the time (81%), staff rarely eat different foods in view of children (69%), visible self-serve or request availability of water (93%), regular informal communication about healthy eating (86%), opportunities for outdoor play (95%), not withholding activity for punishment (91%), accessible play equipment (59% to 80% for different types of equipment), and minimization of extended sitting time (78%). Practices where centers can improve include increasing variety of vegetables (18%), reducing frequency of high-fat meats served (74% serve more than once per week), increasing high-fiber and whole-grain foods (35% offer daily), serving style of “seconds” (28% help kids determine whether they are still hungry), nonfood holiday celebrations (44% use nonfood treats), having toys and books that encourage healthy eating (27%) and physical activity (25%) in all rooms in the center, a standard nutrition (21%) and physical education (50%) curriculum, and following a written physical activity policy (43%). Practitioners can use these data to develop benchmarks and interventions, as this was the first study to assess statewide obesogenic practices in child care.


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      S. B. Sisson is an assistant professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK


      K. B. May is a graduate student, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK


      J. E. Campbell is an assistant professor of research, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK


      D. R. Brittain is an assistant professor, School of Human Sciences, Community Health Program, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley


      L. A. Monroe is a senior research and policy associate, Early Childhood Education Institute, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK


      S. H. Guss is project director, Early Childhood Education Institute, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK


      J. L. Ladner is assistant director, Tulsa Educare Inc, Tulsa, OK