Better beginnings: embedding a best practice approach to healthy food in early years settings across East Sussex
PHE ePoster Library. Blake N. Sep 12, 2019; 274470; 32
Ms. Nicola Blake
Ms. Nicola Blake
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Abstract
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Abstract Introduction
An intervention programme to support nurseries to adopt a whole settings approach to healthy eating (physical activity and oral health) has been implemented across East Sussex since 2015.
Method
During 2017/18, 204 nurseries completed a baseline audit to assess their approaches towards and provision of food/nutrition (to include adherence with national food and drink guidelines for early years settings). With co-ordinator support, nurseries developed an action plan based on identified needs and implemented evidence-based activities to promote healthier food provision (e.g. policy development, practitioner training, cookery resources, parental engagement initiatives). A nine-month follow-up audit was undertaken to evaluate changes.
Results
Analysis of 180 baseline and follow-up audits demonstrated positive shifts in both nurseries' approaches towards food/nutrition (e.g. significant increase in mean number of recommendations ‘fully met'; 32.8 to 35.9, p<0.001), and the nutritional quality of food provided (e.g. significant increase in percentage of applicable guidelines ‘fully met'; 47.4. to 51.0, p<0.001). Nurseries that participated in previous years of the programme were found to ‘fully meet' more recommendations and demonstrated a significant improvement in their approach each year. A common area for improvement included provision of desserts in line with best practice. A thematic analysis of 115 evaluation reports highlights the impacts of changes made.
Conclusion
This programme has contributed towards a positive shift in nurseries' approaches to the provision of healthy food across East Sussex and demonstrates the value of offering ongoing support to nurseries to enable continued improvement and embed best practice. External funding details
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