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Food purchasing and preparation at child day care centers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program in the United States, 2017

Background: More than 3.6 million children are served daily by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)-participating child day care centers. This study provides a nationwide assessment of center-level responsibilities for menu, meal/snack preparation, meal preparer training, and food and beverage (F&B) purchasing. Methods: A nationally representative survey of 5483 CACFP child day care centers was conducted between August 22, 2017, and September 30, 2017. One thousand three hundred forty-three centers (25% response) in 47 states and the District of Columbia responded. Descriptive statistics describe center-level menu, meal, and purchasing practices and center characteristics. Multivariate logistic regressions examined characteristics associated with F&B purchasing sources. Results: Menus were primarily prepared by directors/assistant directors and on-site food manager/cooks, while site staff primarily prepared meals/snacks. Fifty-two percent of meal preparers held a food sanitation license, but only 5% had formal nutrition training (e.g., Registered Dietician). Most centers purchased F&B from food service providers (63%), local grocery stores (59%), warehouse stores (40%), or from 2+ sources (50%). Independent centers were more likely to purchase F&B from local grocery stores or 2+, while free or state-subsidized sites were more likely to purchase from a food service provider and less likely to purchase from other sources than were centers charging between $101 and $201.99 per week. Centers where an on-site cook/food manager prepared the menus were significantly more likely to purchase their F&B from local grocery and/or warehouse stores and/or from 2+ sources. Conclusions: Opportunities exist to target CACFP training to specific roles within and specific types of CACFP-participating child day care centers to facilitate compliance with the updated CACFP standards. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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