Research Showcase Abstracts

Explore abstracts from CFDR’s annual research showcase at the DC Conference.

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Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors (2022 and Later)
M.D. Rossiter1, J. Campbell2, S. Caldwell2, E. Dickson2, M. Young1, J.L. McIsaac2

1University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown PE 2 Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS
Description of responsive feeding practices in early learning and child care environments through a modified assessment framework
Responsive feeding environments allow children to recognize their internal signals of hunger and satiety through prompt and developmentally appropriate responses by their caregiver(s), fostering children’s self-efficacy, self-regulation, and healthy relationships with food. The CELEBRATE Feeding project is implementing a coaching intervention to support responsive feeding in early learning and child care (ELCC) environments across the Maritime provinces.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
To comprehensively describe responsive feeding practices in ELCC environments using established and enhanced scoring frameworks.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
The Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation (EPAO) tool was modified to reflect responsive feeding language resulting in a modified EPAO and a CELEBRATE scale. Day-long observations were conducted in 18 ELCC classrooms. Observation items were combined into 21 responsive feeding scores on both scales, with a score of 3 indicating the most responsiveness. Descriptive analyses were conducted.
The most responsive scores among classrooms on both scales were educators not using food to calm or encourage behaviour (M=2.94, SD=0.24; M=2.98, SD=0.06) and not requiring children to sit at the table until finished (M=2.89, SD=0.47; M=2.97, SD=0.12). Least responsive scores within the EPAO included educators prompting children to drink water (M=0.78, SD=0.94) and children serving themselves (M=0.83, SD=0.38). The least responsive in the CELEBRATE scale were educators enthusiastically role modelling during mealtime (M=0.70, SD=0.68), and educators praising mealtime behaviour that was unrelated to food intake (M=0.74, SD=0.55). The overall averages by classroom for both scales were M=41.00, SD=7.07 and M=37.92 SD=6.50, respectively.
The CELEBRATE scale captured detailed observation information about responsive feeding practices that may allow for documenting change over time.
Significance to Dietetics
Establishing responsive feeding practices is challenging given the range of beliefs around feeding children, and the competing demands on educators’ time. The modified EPAO tool and the CELEBRATE scale provide detailed measurement of responsive feeding practices to inform and support coaching by dietitians in these environments.
Funded by
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

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