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The Quality of Nutrition and Physical Activity Environments of Family Child-Care Homes in a State in the Southern United States

Published:January 29, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2018.11.012

      Abstract

      Background

      Family child-care homes (FCCHs) are an important provider of nonparental child care for low-income families. Little is known about the quality of nutrition and physical activity environments of FCCHs in the southern United States, where child obesity and child poverty levels are high.

      Objectives

      To assess the quality of the nutrition and physical activity environments of a sample of FCCHs in Mississippi and examine the differences by urban vs rural location.

      Design

      Cross-sectional study.

      Participants/setting

      Data were from a random sample of 134 FCCHs that enroll children aged 3 to 5 years. The sample was stratified by urban vs rural location and participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Providers completed a modified version of the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation-Self Report tool by mail and reported on provisions, practices, policies, and the general FCCH nutrition and physical activity environment.

      Main outcome measures

      A nutrition environment score (range=0 to18), physical activity environment score (range=0 to 24), and a combined nutrition and physical activity environment score (range=0 to 42) were calculated from Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation-Self Report tool data.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Descriptive statistics and t tests were computed, with statistical significance set at P≤0.05.

      Results

      Average scores for the nutrition, physical activity, and combined nutrition and physical activity environment were 9.4, 11.1, and 20.5, respectively. The average nutrition environment score (9.6 vs 9.2; P=0.39) and physical activity environment score (11.3 vs 11.0; P=0.62) did not differ between urban and rural homes. The combined nutrition and physical activity scores (20.8 vs 20.2; P=0.50) also did not differ between urban and rural homes.

      Conclusions

      Findings highlight the need to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments of FCCHs, regardless of geographic location. Further research is needed to understand barriers to providing higher-quality nutrition and physical activity environments.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      T. Erinosho is a research assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      D. Hales is a research assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      D. Ward is a professor, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      A. Vaughn is associate director, The Children's Healthy Weight Research Group, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      Z. Gizlice is retired; at the time of the study, he was director, Biostatistical Support Unit, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.