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A cluster-randomized controlled trial to assess the impact of a nutrition intervention on dietary behaviors among early care and education providers: The Create Healthy Futures Study


Create Healthy Futures is a self-paced, web-based intervention on improving healthy eating behaviors among Early Care and Education (ECE) providers. We examined the impact of web-based Create Healthy Futures on diet quality measured by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) 2010, dietary behaviors, and related psychosocial and environmental factors among ECE providers. A cluster randomized controlled trial (CRCT) was implemented with baseline surveys administered from October 2019-January 2020, intervention implementation from April-May 2020, and post-intervention from May 2020-August 2020. Centered-based ECE programs under the Pennsylvania Head Start Association (n = 12) were recruited and randomized to intervention (n = 5) or comparison (n = 7) groups. A total of 186 ECE providers completed the post-intervention surveys (retention rate: 86.1%). At baseline, 31.5% of ECE providers were food insecure. Pre-to-post intervention demonstrated no significant within-or-between-group changes in the AHEI-2010 diet quality scores. ECE providers in the intervention group reported a significant decrease from baseline to post-intervention in the number of days eating out (aMD = -0.8, CI:-1.6, 􀀀 0.1, P = 0.03). Process evaluation showed that 89.9% of the intervention group completed all online module, and 82.9% attended all of wellness session groups. Although the Create Healthy Futures intervention did not improve ECE providers’ diet quality and dietary behaviors, it confirmed critical needs to provide health support to ECE providers. Future studies should employ strategies that improve access to healthy foods and nutrition education, and address social determinants of health such as food insecurity to improve diet quality and health in ECE provider population. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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