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Food waste, preference, and cost: Perceived barriers and self-reported food service best practices in family child care homes


Background: Family Child Care Homes (FCCHs) are a setting where providers care for children at their own residence. FCCHs face unique challenges and children may not always receive optimal nutrition and have higher risk of obesity compared to other programs. The objective of this study was to determine differences in food service best practices scores between FCCHs who did/did not perceive barriers to serving healthy meals. Methods: FCCHs (n = 167) self-reported demographics, and perceived barriers to serving healthy foods. Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care was used to assess food served with 1 (indicating poor practice) to 4 (indicating best practice). Means, standard deviations, and t-tests were conducted to determine differences in scores between FCCHs with and without perceived barriers. Adjusted alpha was 0.013. Results: FCCHs perceiving food waste as a barrier had significantly lower scores for total food and beverage (p = 0.006, 3.2 ± 0.3 vs. 3.4 ± 0.3); fruits and vegetables (p = 0.003, 3.1 ± 0.5 vs. 3.3 ± 0.5), whole fruits (p = 0.048, 3.1 ± 1.2 vs. 3.4 ± 0.9), and nonstarchy vegetables (p = 0.007, 2.8 ± 0.9 vs. 3.2 ± 0.9). Providers perceiving food preferences as a barrier had significantly lower scores compared to those who did not (p = 0.008, 2.9 ± 0.9 vs. 3.3 ± 0.9). No significant differences found in best practices among providers with vs. without perceived barrier of food costs. Conclusion: Food waste is an understudied barrier in FCCHs to serve healthy meals. Research is needed to explore these perceived barriers in FCCHs to improve best practices around meals. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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