The effect of the food environment on fresh produce served in family child care homes

Fortin-Miller SA, Grantham CE, Campbell JE, Salvatore AL, Hoffman LA, Sisson SB

Nutr Health 2021 Dec;27(4):381-386

PMID: 33781117


BACKGROUND: Higher produce consumption in childhood decreases risks of short- and long-term malnutrition, obesity, and disease. Children in early care programs, including family child care homes (FCCHs), receive 50-67% of daily nutrition while in care. Procuring nutritious foods requires grocer access, which is absent in food deserts (FDs).

AIM: To determine if FCCH food environment (FE) impacted distance to grocers and amount of fresh produce served.

METHODS: Using a cross-sectional design, Modified Retail Food Environment Index scores determined census tract FD status. FCCH and grocer addresses were geocoded and distance to the nearest grocers was calculated. Fresh produce was observed during two lunches.

RESULTS: FE did not influence distance to grocers or fresh produce served. Non-desert FCCHs tended to serve fresh produce more frequently. The amount of fresh produce served was overall low.

CONCLUSION: Further studies are warranted to inform policies aimed to reduce provider barriers regarding service of fresh produce.

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