Nutrition-related practices of family child care providers and differences by ethnicity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Kim M. Gans
  • Alison Tovar
  • Qianxia Jiang
  • Jennifer Mello
  • Laura Dionne
  • Augustine Kang
  • Noereem Z. Mena
  • Vanessa Palomo
  • Patricia Markham Risica

External Institution(s)

  • University of Connecticut
  • Center for Health Equity Research
  • Brown University
  • University of Rhode Island


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number3
StatusPublished - Apr 2019


Background: Child care settings play an important role in shaping children's eating behaviors; yet few studies have included family child care homes (FCCHs). We examined provider-reported nutrition-related practices in FCCHs and observed adherence to nutrition guidelines from the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC), exploring differences by provider ethnicity. Methods: We assessed baseline data from a cluster-randomized trial, including surveys with FCCH providers and observational data collected at the FCCH. We examined provider-reported nutrition-related practices and if providers met NAP SACC guidelines using observational data. Differences by ethnicity were assessed using chi-square and multivariate log-linear analysis adjusting for education. Results: Providers completed a telephone survey (n = 166, 100% female and 72% Hispanic) and participated in 2 full-day observations (n = 119). Many providers reported engaging in positive nutrition-related practices. Significant differences by ethnicity included the following: Hispanic providers less likely to report feeding practices that were responsive to children's self-regulation, but also less likely to report eating and drinking unhealthy foods/beverages in front of children and having screens on during meals and more likely to report seeking nutrition trainings. Using observational data, only 10 of 26 NAP SACC practices were met by >60% of providers. Few ethnic differences in meeting guidelines were found (7 of 26 practices). Conclusions: While providers engage in some positive nutrition practices, improvement is needed to ensure that all providers actually meet evidence-based guidelines. Ethnic differences in certain practices underscore the need for culturally relevant trainings.

    Research areas

  • NAP SACC, child care, family child care homes, feeding practices, nutrition, preschool children

Citation formats


Gans, K. M., Tovar, A., Jiang, Q., Mello, J., Dionne, L., Kang, A., ... Risica, P. M. (2019). Nutrition-related practices of family child care providers and differences by ethnicity. Childhood Obesity, 15(3), 167-184.


Gans, KM, Tovar, A, Jiang, Q, Mello, J, Dionne, L, Kang, A, Mena, NZ, Palomo, V & Risica, PM 2019, 'Nutrition-related practices of family child care providers and differences by ethnicity', Childhood Obesity, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 167-184.