Development and Reliability of an Observation Method to Assess Food Intake of Young Children in Child Care

Sarah C. Ball, Sara E. Benjamin, Dianne S. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To our knowledge, a direct observation protocol for assessing dietary intake among young children in child care has not been published. This article reviews the development and testing of a diet observation system for child care facilities that occurred during a larger intervention trial. Development of this system was divided into five phases, done in conjunction with a larger intervention study; (a) protocol development, (b) training of field staff, (c) certification of field staff in a laboratory setting, (d) implementation in a child-care setting, and (e) certification of field staff in a child-care setting. During the certification phases, methods were used to assess the accuracy and reliability of all observers at estimating types and amounts of food and beverages commonly served in child care. Tests of agreement show strong agreement among five observers, as well as strong accuracy between the observers and 20 measured portions of foods and beverages with a mean intraclass correlation coefficient value of 0.99. This structured observation system shows promise as a valid and reliable approach for assessing dietary intake of children in child care and makes a valuable contribution to the growing body of literature on the dietary assessment of young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-661
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume107
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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