AJEC Vol. 42 No. 2 – Determining educators’ needs to support healthy eating environments in early childhood settings
Edith Cowan University
School of Medical and Health Sciences (SMHS)
Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health (SIRCH)
THE PROVISION OF A nutritious diet early in life can have an immense effect on future health and wellbeing. The number of children attending child care is increasing, thus this setting is strategically placed to establish positive eating habits. This qualitative study sought to understand the needs of Australian early childhood education and care staff in relation to the provision of a healthy eating environment. Key stakeholders formed a consultancy group to provide feedback and advice. The study was underpinned by the Spiral Action Research model. Analysis of 48 in-depth interviews identified the following themes: healthy eating activities, resources, nutrition training, attitudes towards healthy eating and the proposed intervention, and barriers to healthy eating. Participants were open to using an online repository of nutrition resources and information wrapped in support. This formative data informed the development of a ‘best practice’ website including discussion boards intended to foster an online ‘community of practice’.