Outcomes From Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Recognition Programs in Early Child Care and Education: A Scoping Review
ObjectiveRecognition programs are designed to incentivize early care and education (ECE) settings to implement childhood obesity prevention standards, yet little is known regarding their efficacy. This scoping review details characteristics, methodologies, and criteria used to evaluate recognition programs, identifies gaps in evaluation, and synthesizes existing evidence.Data SourceA public health librarian created the search strategies for six databases: Ovid MEDLINE, AGRICOLA, CAB Abstracts, PAIS Index, ERIC, and Scopus.Study Inclusion and Exclusion CriteriaInclusion criteria include recognition program, ECE setting, nutrition or physical activity, and qualitative or quantitative outcomes. Exclusion criteria include programming without recognition component, no ECE setting, no nutrition or physical activity outcome, case studies, or not written in English.Data ExtractionThree researchers independently extracted and complied data into an Excel spreadsheet.Data SynthesisTables were created describing location, recognition program criteria, award incentive, study design, study sample, risk of bias, and outcomes (e.g., menu nutrition) evaluated in each study.ResultsThree unique recognition programs (described in 7 studies) provided technical assistance, incentives, and training. While outcome measures and study designs varied across programs, it is clear that recognition programs are well accepted and feasible, and one study demonstrated beneficial weight outcomes.ConclusionAlthough additional evaluation is needed, recognition programs may be a promising strategy to improve obesity prevention practices in ECE.