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Obesity prevention within the early childhood education and care setting: A systematic review of dietary behavior and physical activity policies and guidelines in high income countries


As a strategy for early childhood obesity prevention, a variety of dietary behavior and physical activity policies and guidelines published by leading health agencies and early childhood education and care (ECEC) licensing and accreditation bodies exist. Given the potential diversity in recommendations from these policies, this narrative review sought to synthesize, appraise and describe the various policies and guidelines made by organizational and professional bodies to highlight consistent recommendations and identify opportunities to strengthen such policies. An electronic bibliographic search of seven online databases and grey literature sources was undertaken. Records were included if they were policies or guidelines with specific recommendations addressing dietary behavior and/or physical activity practice implementation within the ECEC setting; included children aged >12 months and <6 years and were developed for high income countries. Recommended dietary behavior and physical activity policies and practices were synthesized into broad themes using the Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity framework, and the quality of included guidelines appraised. Our search identified 38 eligible publications mostly from the US and Australia. Identified guidelines were largely consistent in their recommendation and frequently addressed the physical and sociocultural environment and were well-aligned with research evidence. Broader consideration of policy and economic environments may be needed to increase the impact of such policies and guidelines within the ECEC setting. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Literature Review

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