A B C - 1 2 3, but What Is Good for Me?

New study highlights how child care providers can be part of the solution for childhood obesity

Philadelphia, PA, November 8, 2012 – The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys revealed that over 21% of children 2 to 5 years old were considered overweight or obese. Child care settings can serve as a platform to teach children about nutrition in our fight against childhood obesity, as nearly 50% of children in the United States under age 5 are enrolled in child care. In a new study released in the November/December 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, training child care providers about their role in children’s healthful eating is an essential component of child care-based obesity prevention initiatives.

This study from Washington State University called the ENHANCE project, looked at 72 child care providers from 45 child care settings before and after a three-hour wellness retreat, and focused on feeding relationships, child nutrition education, and family communication. This forum provided tools and skills for providers to succeed in incorporating obesity prevention and healthful eating promotion within their child care setting.  Based on observations and a survey before and one year after the wellness retreat, researchers found child care providers’ beliefs related to children’s healthful eating and feeding affected classroom practices. For example, if a child care provider felt confident in their ability to provide nutrition information, then they increased their nutrition education efforts and communicated more frequently with families about healthful eating and child feeding.

Jane D. Lanigan, PhD, the lead investigator from Washington State University, says, “Teachers did feel empowered to shape children’s food preferences and employed a variety of evidence-based practices during feeding. However, they felt uncertain about managing children’s intake or addressing child weight issues with parents. The current study suggests that the child care feeding environment can be improved by helping providers understand the negative consequences associated with feeding practices such as pressuring a child to eat, restricting highly palatable food, and using rewards to encourage children to eat healthful food or increase consumption.”

So why is this important for childcare? Dr. Lanigan says, “The potential for early learning professionals to contribute to the childhood obesity solution has yet to be fully realized. The ENHANCE project sought to position obesity prevention within the early learning philosophy of promoting the development of the ‘whole child’ and help child care providers connect child care feeding practices to children’s development of lasting beliefs about healthful eating.”

Incorporating child feeding training into state child care licensure, national certification, or as a requirement for participation in the Child & Adult Care Food Program are potential mechanisms for improving the child care feeding environment and addressing the childhood obesity epidemic.”

# # #

Notes for Editors
“The Relationship between Practices and Child Care Providers’ Beliefs Related to Child Feeding and Obesity Prevention,” by Jane D. Lanigan, PhD, appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 44, Issue 6 (November/December 2012) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at 732-238-3628or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Dr. Jane D. Lanigan at jlanigan@vancouver.wsu.edu or 360-546-9715.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Jane D. Lanigan, PhD, and information specifically for journalists are located at www.jneb.org/content/podcast. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media; contact Eileen Leahy to obtain permission.

Aout The Journal of Nutrition Education And Behavior www.jneb.org
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society’s efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact
Eileen Leahy
Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
jnebmedia@elsevier.com