Child Care Centers and the Infant/Toddler Feeding Environment

Jean Hamilton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Heather Wasser, Durham County Health Department, North Carolina
Margaret Bentley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The rising rates of obesity and increasing mortality and morbidity from related diseases has led to an examination of nutrition policy and practices across institutions. With a significant percentage of mothers in the labor force, more than half of infant and toddlers are in non-parental care including child care centers. This study brings together the nutrition and child care quality literature to examine the determinants of the feeding environment of infant and toddlers. We use an exploratory sample of North Carolina child care centers and find that centers with high overall quality also provide a high quality feeding environment. Centers that participate in the federal food subsidy program are not found to have higher quality. Finally, we find higher feeding quality in centers with higher staff-child ratios, with a lower percentage of African American infants and toddlers, and with better educated teachers.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology