Presentation Title

Investigation of Eating Practices in a Sample of Child Care Centers in Northwestern Vermont

Project Collaborators

Dr. Farryl Bertmann (Faculty Mentor)

Abstract

Intuitive eating is a rapidly growing topic in the field of nutrition, yet little is understood about the extent to which intuitive eating principles are being utilized in early childhood education centers. This study took a Grounded Inductive Qualitative Approach for data analysis of structured interviews with a sample of educators (n=7) in Northwestern Vermont. The study aimed to assess the degree to which intuitive eating practices aligning with Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibilities (sDOR) are being utilized in early childhood education centers. The study demonstrated that principles of intuitive eating aligned with sDOR were in effect among children and educators at schools. However the parent-educator relationship in food decision-making complicated sDOR adult responsibilities. COVID-19 public health measures disrupted previous practices including food availability, mealtime environment, and parent-educator communication. Ultimately, the study revealed that intuitive eating principles are generally utilized among sampled centers, but additional research is needed to better understand the parent-educator relationship and long-term implications of current public health practices.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Farryl Bertmann

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

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Investigation of Eating Practices in a Sample of Child Care Centers in Northwestern Vermont

Intuitive eating is a rapidly growing topic in the field of nutrition, yet little is understood about the extent to which intuitive eating principles are being utilized in early childhood education centers. This study took a Grounded Inductive Qualitative Approach for data analysis of structured interviews with a sample of educators (n=7) in Northwestern Vermont. The study aimed to assess the degree to which intuitive eating practices aligning with Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibilities (sDOR) are being utilized in early childhood education centers. The study demonstrated that principles of intuitive eating aligned with sDOR were in effect among children and educators at schools. However the parent-educator relationship in food decision-making complicated sDOR adult responsibilities. COVID-19 public health measures disrupted previous practices including food availability, mealtime environment, and parent-educator communication. Ultimately, the study revealed that intuitive eating principles are generally utilized among sampled centers, but additional research is needed to better understand the parent-educator relationship and long-term implications of current public health practices.