Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

A preschool-based intervention for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) teachers in promoting healthy eating and physical activity in toddlers: study protocol of the cluster randomized controlled trial PreSchool@HealthyWeight

Article

<b>Background</b><br/>Interventions to prevent overweight and obesity in toddlers are needed to minimize health inequalities, especially in migration and lower socio-economic groups. Preschools are identified as important environments for interventions to prevent overweight and obesity. Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) teachers in preschools are potential key actors in promoting healthy eating and physical activity. This paper describes the research design of a Dutch preschool-based intervention for ECEC teachers in promoting healthy eating and physical activity in toddlers.<br/><br/><b>Methods</b><br/>PreSchool@HealthyWeight concerns a cluster randomized controlled trial on preschools in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, Netherlands. This city district is characterised by inhabitants with a migration background and low socio-economic status. Forty-one preschools, with 115 ECEC teachers and 249 toddlers/parents, were randomly allocated to an intervention or control group. An intervention for teachers will be carried out on intervention locations and consists of modified versions of 2 existing programs: ‘A Healthy Start’ and ‘PLAYgrounds’. In ‘A Healthy Start’, ECEC teachers learn to provide a healthy and active environment for toddlers. The ‘PLAYgrounds for Toddlers’ program, coaches ECEC teachers to stimulate physical activity in the playgrounds of preschools. PreSchool@HealthyWeight aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention after 9 months. Primary outcomes are the teachers’ knowledge, attitude and practices concerning healthy eating and physical activity, and consequently the level of confidence of ECEC teachers in promoting healthy eating and physical activity in toddlers. Secondary outcomes include the Body Mass Index, body composition, dietary intake and physical activity level of teachers and toddlers. In addition, the activating role of ECEC teachers and the physical activity of toddlers on the playgrounds will be evaluated. Lastly, the knowledge, attitude and practices of parents concerning healthy eating and physical activity will be assessed.<br/><br/><b>Discussion</b><br/>It is hypothesized that this preschool-based intervention for ECEC teachers improves the knowledge, attitude and practices regarding healthy eating and physical activity, and consequently the level of confidence of ECEC teachers in promoting healthy eating and physical activity of toddlers. The intervention addresses the call for early intervention to prevent overweight and obesity and to minimize health inequalities.<br/><br/><b>Trial registration</b><br/>Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NL5850. Date registered: August 26, 2016.

Reference Toussaint, N., Streppel, M. T., Mul, S., Schreurs, A., Balledux, M., van Drongelen, K., ... Weijs, P. J. M. (2019). A preschool-based intervention for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) teachers in promoting healthy eating and physical activity in toddlers: study protocol of the cluster randomized controlled trial PreSchool@HealthyWeight. BMC Public Health, 19, [278]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6611-x
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2019