To investigate the impact of nutrition training initiatives on nutrition practice in early years settings and in the home.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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The aims of this research were to investigate the benefits of nutrition training initiatives to staff within early years settings, to evaluate whether nutrition training initiatives result in changes in nutrition practices and to critically analyse factors that support or impede changes in nutrition practices in early years settings and at the wider community level to inform future practice. Formative evaluation was undertaken and data collected from questionnaires from fifty six early years practitioners and interviews with development officers for Wales Preschool Playgroups Association, National Day Nurseries Association, Workforce Development Officer (formerly development officer for National Childminders Association), the area co-ordinator for Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin and an advisory teacher for Flying Start. Results demonstrated that staff accessing nutrition training initiatives had increased nutrition knowledge and confidence to pass information on to parents, increased knowledge of dental health issues, the nutritional value of foods and children's nutritional needs, as well as making lifestyle changes for themselves and their families and reflecting upon their role in promoting good nutrition to young children. Changes in nutrition practices were seen such as healthier food and drink provision for children, involving children in food preparation and food activities and passing information to parents. The Open College Network accredited nutrition course provided recipients with increased knowledge of nutrition for pre school children. The community based snack award scheme effectively provided practical information and support to apply this knowledge through educational activities for children. Factors supporting changes in nutrition practices in early years settings included resources such as snack lists and handouts to assist with food policy development. Factors found to impede changes were a lack of ongoing monitoring and support and other training priorities preventing staff accessing nutrition courses. Increased nutrition knowledge of early years practitioners and food and health policy development contributed to the provision of a health supporting environment for young children. Further work is required to facilitate links between nutrition training initiatives and other community food initiatives.
MA Pcet Thesis
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