Healthy incentive scheme in the Irish full-day-care pre-school setting
C. Johnston Molloy; J. Kearney; N. Hayes; C. G. Slattery; C. Corish
Year of publication
Proc Nutr Soc
A pre-school offering a full-day-care service provides for children aged 0-5 years for more than 4 h/d. Researchers have called for studies that will provide an understanding of nutrition and physical activity practices in this setting. Obesity prevention in pre-schools, through the development of healthy associations with food and health-related practices, has been advocated. While guidelines for the promotion of best nutrition and health-related practice in the early years' setting exist in a number of jurisdictions, associated regulations have been noted to be poor, with the environment of the child-care facility mainly evaluated for safety. Much cross-sectional research outlines poor nutrition and physical activity practice in this setting. However, there are few published environmental and policy-level interventions targeting the child-care provider with, to our knowledge, no evidence of such interventions in Ireland. The aim of the present paper is to review international guidelines and recommendations relating to health promotion best practice in the pre-school setting: service and resource provision; food service and food availability; and the role and involvement of parents in pre-schools. Intervention programmes and assessment tools available to measure such practice are outlined; and insight is provided into an intervention scheme, formulated from available best practice, that was introduced into the Irish full-day-care pre-school setting.