State Regulations to Support Children’s Cultural and Religious Food Preferences in Early Care and Education

Anna Ayers Looby, Natasha Frost, Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm, Elyse R. Grossman, Julie Ralston Aoki, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: In July 2018 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released a benchmark encouraging early care and education (ECE) programs, including child care centers and family child care homes, to incorporate cultural and religious food preferences of children into meals. We examined the extent to which states were already doing so through their ECE licensing and administrative regulations prior to the release of the benchmark. This review may serve as a baseline to assess future updates, if more states incorporate the benchmark into their regulations. Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we reviewed ECE regulations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (hereafter states) through June 2018. We assessed consistency with the benchmark for centers and homes. We conducted Spearman correlations to estimate associations between the year the regulations were updated and consistency with the benchmark. Results: Among centers, eight states fully met the benchmark, 11 partially met the benchmark, and 32 did not meet the benchmark. Similarly for homes, four states fully met the benchmark, 13 partially met the benchmark, and 34 did not meet the benchmark. Meeting the benchmark was not correlated with the year of last update for centers (P = 0.54) or homes (P = 0.31). Conclusions: Most states lacked regulations consistent with the benchmark. Health professionals can help encourage ECE programs to consider cultural and religious food preferences of children in meal planning. And, if feasible, states may consider additional regulations supporting cultural and religious preferences of children in future updates to regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Child care
  • Culture
  • Policy
  • Regulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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