Implementation of four strategies in Dutch day-care centres to stimulate young children's fruit and vegetable consumption

Gertrude Zeinstra, Femke A. Hoefnagels, Saskia Meijboom, Marieke C.E. Battjes-Fries. 2023. Implementation of four strategies in Dutch day-care centres to stimulate young children's fruit and vegetable consumption. Appetite. 181(1)
Pagina's / pages: 10
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Taal/language: Engels
Abstract / summary in English:

The day-care setting is an ideal place to encourage children’s fruit and vegetable (=F&V) eating. Whereas many studies have focused on the effectiveness to increase F&V consumption, little is known about how to successfully implement effective strategies in daily practice. This study aimed to investigate how day-care professionals evaluated the implementation of a self-chosen strategy to support children’s F&V eating. Thirteen day-care lo- cations chose one out of five promising strategies and implemented this strategy for 10–12 weeks. Before (N = 98) and after the study (N = 49), day-care professionals completed a questionnaire to assess their imple- mentation experiences, the impact on children’s F&V eating as well as their future intention to use the strategy (on a 5-point scale). Parents (N = 152) completed a short questionnaire at the end of the study to capture their experiences and potential transfer effects to the home situation. Results showed that acceptability, appropri- ateness, feasibility and sustainability of the strategies were generally satisfactory (scores ≥3.5 on a 5-point scale), but the strategy of cooking scored less favourable on appropriateness and sustained implementation. Children’s willingness to taste F&V varieties (3.4 ± 0.7 vs. 2.8 ± 0.8; p < 0.001) and eating pleasure for vegetables (3.4 ± 0.6 vs. 3.1 ± 0.8; p = 0.01) increased, whereas children’s F&V consumption did not change (p > 0.14). Parents valued the day-cares’ efforts to encourage children’s F&V consumption and a small group (~20%) experienced positive effects at home. This study shows that implementing a self-chosen F&V strategy at the day-care is acceptable, appropriate and feasible for day-care professionals and has potential to positively impact children’s F&V eating behaviour. Future research should investigate the effects of long-term implementation on children’s eating behaviour and examine how structural implementation can be further supported.

Keywords in English: Implementation, Day care, Children, Fruit and vegetables, Willingness to taste, Healthy eating