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Comparing the nutrition environment and practices of home- and centre-based child-care facilities
Public Health Nutrition (2016)
  • OJ Martyniuk
  • Leigh Vanderloo, University of Western Ontario
  • Jennifer D. Irwin, The University of Western Ontario
  • Shauna M. Burke, University of Western Ontario
  • Patricia Tucker
Objective: To assess and compare the nutrition environment and practices (as they relate to pre-schoolers) of centre- and home-based child-care facilities.

Design: Using a cross-sectional study design, nineteen child-care facilities (ten centre-based, nine home-based) were assessed for one full day using the Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation (EPAO) tool (consisting of a day-long observation/review of the nutrition environment, practices and related documents). Specifically, eight nutrition-related subscales were considered.

Setting: Child-care facilities in London, Ontario, Canada.

Subjects: Child-care facilities were recruited through directors at centre-based programmes and the providers of home-based programmes.

Results: The mean total nutrition environment EPAO scores for centre- and home-based facilities were 12·3 (sd 1·94) and 10·8 (sd 0·78) out of 20 (where a higher score indicates a more supportive environment with regard to nutrition), respectively. The difference between the total nutrition environment EPAO score for centre- and home-based facilities was approaching significance (P=0·055). For both types of facilities, the highest nutrition subscale score (out of 20) was achieved in the staff behaviours domain (centre mean=17·4; home mean=17·0) and the lowest was in the nutrition training and education domain (centre mean=3·6; home mean=2·0).

Conclusions: Additional research is needed to confirm these findings. In order to better support child-care staff and enhance the overall nutrition environment in child care, modifications to food practices could be adopted. Specifically, the nutritional quality of foods/beverages provided to pre-schoolers could be improved, nutrition-related training for child-care staff could be provided, and a nutrition curriculum could be created to educate pre-schoolers about healthy food choices.
  • child-care environment,
  • child-care staff practices,
  • Nutrition,
  • Pre-school children
Publication Date
January 6, 2016
Citation Information
OJ Martyniuk, Leigh Vanderloo, Jennifer D. Irwin, Shauna M. Burke, et al.. "Comparing the nutrition environment and practices of home- and centre-based child-care facilities" Public Health Nutrition Vol. 19 Iss. 4 (2016) p. 575 - 584
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