Early Care and Education

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About

The Early Care & Education (ECE) working group is a nationwide team of researchers, practitioners, and leaders in the ECE field committed to improving the health of young children through improved research and practice in a variety of care settings. The working group is a collaborative effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research (HER) and Active Living Research (ALR) programs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN) and Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN). The HER national program office, jointly housed at Duke University and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, serves as the primary coordinating body.

Membership in the working group is open to all with an interest in obesity prevention research and practice in the child care/early childhood setting, including on topics related to nutrition, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors. The primary population of interest is children ages 0 to 5 years in a variety of settings, including child care (both centers and homes), preschool, pre‐Kindergarten, and Head Start.

Mission

The mission of the ECE working group is to build a network of researchers and leaders from academia,
non‐profit organizations, government, and other funding agencies to increase the amount and quality of research and optimal practices in the area of childhood obesity prevention in the early care and education setting, and to support and facilitate the development and implementation of evidence‐informed policies. Special emphasis is placed on equity and addressing the needs of the lower‐income and racial/ethnic minority populations at highest risk for obesity.

The goal of the ECE working group is to bring an increased focus on nutrition, physical activity, and childhood obesity prevention research and practice in early care and education settings (ECE).

Key Activities and Findings

Activities and Objectives:

1. Build a network of researchers and leaders with an interest in ECE
a. Recruit and support new investigators through collaboration in working groups, mentored leadership, building connections, and other opportunities
b. Create opportunities for learning and collaboration (e.g., commissioned research projects, grants, publications, presentations)
c. Share information and resources among members of the workgroup (e.g., tools, methods, intervention materials)

2. Maintain 3 active working group subgroups with relevant leadership
a. Support any collaborative projects developed by the subgroups
b. Identify, where possible, funding sources to support collaborative projects
c. Support engagement of members of the subgroups in the collaborative project

3. Share information about funding for ECE obesity prevention research and evaluation

Longer-Term Objectives:

1. Identify gaps in the ECE knowledge base

2. Generate interest in research in nutrition and physical activity in ECE, by documenting and making the case for its relevance to other aspects of ECE

3. Build evidence to support changes to ECE policies, environments, and practices

4. Highlight the need for funding for ECE research and evaluation

5. Increase the number of ECE researchers

6. Increase the amount and quality of ECE research

7. Effect change where possible in national and state policies to improve nutrition and physical activity standards in ECE

Early Care and Education Subgroups

Three subgroups form the basis of the ECE working group: How Diet and Physical Activity Affect Child Development, Monitoring and Informing the Policy and Regulatory Environment, and How to Better Use Research to Change Practice. Each of the ECE working group subgroups meets on a monthly basis via conference call.

1. How Diet and Physical Activity Affect Child Development
Co-Chairs: Temitope Erinosho, PhD and Pooja Tandon, MD

2. Monitoring and Informing the Policy and Regulatory Environment
Co-Chairs: Natasha Frost, JD and Susie Nanney PhD, MPH, RD
Past Chair: Geri Henchy, MPH, RD

3. How to Better Use Research to Change Practice
Co-Chairs: Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD and Dipti Dev, PhD, MS
Past Chair: Angela Odoms-Young, PhD, MS

Resources

Download the ECE Overview document for more information about the work group

July 2016: Click here to view the recording access PPT slides featuring Brooke Nezami’s ‘The Smart Moms Study’ and Dipti Diev’s ‘Let’s Work Together Towards Children’s Nutrition’: Building a Bridge between Childcare Providers and Parents for Promoting Child Health

August 2016: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Asheley Skinner’s presentation ‘Changes in Obesity Rates for Young Children: Interpretations Using Different Data Sources and Statistical Methods’ and Susan Sisson’s Member Spotlight’.

September 2016: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Jennifer Savage William’s presentation ‘The Role of Responsive Parenting in Pediatric Obesity Prevention’

October 2016: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Sofiya Alhassan’s presentation ‘Teacher-Led Preschool Physical Activity Interventions’ and Sabrina Adler of Change Lab Solutions ‘Member Spotlight’.

November 2016: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Jennifer Harris’ presentation ‘Marketing for Baby and Toddler Food and Drinks: What is it Teaching Parents?’ and Krista Scott of ChildCare Aware of America on ‘Health Equity in Early Childhood Education’.

December 2016: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring a presentation on “State Policies Governing Early Care and Education Programs”.

January 2017: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Maureen Black’s presentation ‘Advancing Early Childhood Development from Science to Scale’ and Matthew Melmed of ZERO TO THREE ‘Member Spotlight’.

February 2017: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Yolanda Reid Chassiakos’ presentation ‘Young Minds and the Media’ and Sallie Yoshida and Jeremiah Garza of the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation ‘Member Spotlight’.

March 2017: Click here to view the recording and access PPT slides featuring Rafael Perez-Escamilla’s presentation ‘Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Young Toddlers: A Responsive Parenting Approach’.

Contacts

Dianne S. Ward, EdD
Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kathryn Henderson, PhD
Independent Consultant
Henderson Consulting

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the overall ECE working group or any of the subgroups, please send an email to Emily Welker at Emily.welker@duke.edu.