Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Kim Gans; Marlene Schwartz; Caitlin Lombardi

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Background:Childcare settings play an important role in shaping young children’s eating, physical activity (PA), and screen time (ST) behaviors. However, little research has focused on family childcare homes (FCCHs). This paper examines family child care provider (FCCP)-reported attitudes and perceived barriers related to nutrition, PA, and ST of preschool aged children in their FCCH, exploring differences by provider ethnicity.

Methods:We used baseline data from an ongoing cluster-randomized trial including surveys with FCCPs. We examined demographic characteristics and provider-reported nutrition, PA, and ST-related attitudes and barriers. Differences by ethnicity were assessed using chi square and multivariate loglinear analysis adjusting for provider education.

Results:FCCPs from Rhode Island and Massachusetts completed a telephone survey (n=168, 100% female and 72% Hispanic) and in person survey (n=127). The attitudes of many FCCPs were consistent with national guidelines for obesity prevention in early child care. Adjusting for education, there were statistically significant differences in some attitudes by ethnicity. Hispanic FCCPs were less likely than non-Hispanic FCCPs to agree with statements related to the ease of healthful dietary practices such as children’s water, juice and milk intake, serving whole grains, and knowing how to help children be more physically active. Hispanic FCCPs were more likely than non-Hispanic FCCPs to agree with the importance of sitting with and eating the same foods as the children, joining with children in play, and leading PA lessons.

Conclusions:While many FCCP hold some nutrition, PA, and ST-related attitudes consistent with national guidelines, improvement is needed to ensure that all providers engage in positive practices and achieve better nutrition, PA and ST-related environments in FCCHs. There is also a need for culturally relevant trainings for FCCPs.

Major Advisor

Kim Gans