Growing Up in New Zealand


Kai Time in ECE

PhD research within Growing Up in New Zealand

Female toddler eating a sandwich, with sauce smeared accross her face

Kai time in ECE was a one-off online survey in mid-2014 of managers/ teachers from licensed Early Childhood Education (ECE) services in the Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waikato District Health Board (DHB) regions.

The survey collected information about food, nutrition and physical activity practices and policies for 3-4 year olds. Responses were received from 257 ECE services (30% of licensed ECE providers in the three regions), and were fairly representative of all services, with the exception of Kōhanga Reo who were under-represented. We expect that this research will be relevant to licensed ECE services throughout New Zealand.

 

 

Realising the potential of early childhood education environments for obesity prevention


Realising the potential of early childhood education environments for obesity prevention. University of Auckland PhD thesis by Dr Sarah Gerritsen.

Young children increasingly attend out-of-home, group-based care, and early-life interventions appear to be the most efficacious and cost-effective to prevent obesity. Consequently, early childhood education (ECE) is recognized internationally as an important setting in governmental responses to obesity. This thesis evaluates the nutrition and physical activity environments for 3- and 4-year-olds in New Zealand ECE services, and determines the effect of ECE environments on the development of overweight and obesity in early childhood.

Statistical analyses in this thesis suggest that ECE services are unlikely to affect childhood obesity in isolation. However, ECE services are an essential setting for a comprehensive approach to obesity, to inspire and support parental and community efforts to provide healthy food and activity opportunities.

The thesis elucidates four areas for action within the New Zealand ECE sector:

  1. Staff education and professional development in nutrition and physical activity
  2. Strengthening nutrition and activity policies
  3. Improving the quantity of serves of ‘everyday’ foods in ECE services on menus, in lunchboxes, and at celebrations
  4. Eliminating discretionary foods from meals and snacks (menus and lunchboxes), and having appropriate serving sizes for discretionary foods at celebrations if served. 

Additionally, a baseline scorecard of NZ’s implementation of recommendations from the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity highlights the inadequacy of current government policy. Policy options include changes to ECE licensing regulations, prelicensing checks, education reviews, the self-review process, and monitoring or auditing of ECE services. With some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world, there is “an urgent need to act now” to improve ECE environments in New Zealand, ensuring that they work in collaboration with parents, family and the wider community to uphold basic rights for children to adequate nutrition and the highest attainable standard of health.

Thie full thesis is available online: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/37026

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Results from Kai Time in ECE: Nutrition-related behaviours in homes and ECE settings


Pre-school nutrition-related behaviours at home and early childhood education services: Findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study is the fourth paper in a series detailing results from the Kai Time in ECE survey.

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The full academic paper can be found online on the Public Health Nutrition website:

Gerritsen, S., Anderson, S., Morton, S., & Wall, C. (2018). Pre-school nutrition-related behaviours at home and early childhood education services: Findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal studyPublic Health Nutrition, 21 (7) 1222-1231. doi:10.1017/S1368980017004116

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Results from Kai Time in ECE: Menus in childcare


Do childcare menus meet nutrition guidelines? Quantity, variety and quality of food provided in New Zealand Early Childhood Education services is the third paper in a series, detailing results from the Kai Time in ECE survey.

Read more

The full academic paper can be found online on the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health website (open access):

Gerritsen S, Dean B, Morton SMB, Wall C. (2017) Do childcare menus meet nutrition guidelines? Quantity, variety and quality of food provided in New Zealand Early Childhood Education services. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12667

© 2016 Public Health Association of Australia

Commentary: Nutrition education for early childhood managers, teachers and cooks


'Nutrition education for early childhood managers, teachers and nursery cooks: a prerequisite for effective obesity prevention' can be found online on the Public Health website:

Gerritsen, S. (2016) Nutrition education for early childhood managers, teachers and nursery cooks: a prerequisite for effective obesity prevention. Public Health, doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.05.025

© 2016 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Results from Kai Time in ECE: Physical activity and screen time in childcare


'Physical activity and screen use in childcare: Results from a survey of Early Childhood Education services in New Zealand' is the second paper in a series, detailing results from the Kai Time in ECE survey.

The full academic paper can be found online on the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health website:

Gerritsen, S., Morton, S. M.B. and Wall, C. R. (2016), Physical activity and screen use policy and practices in childcare: results from a survey of early childhood education services in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12529

© 2016 Public Health Association of Australia

Results from Kai Time in ECE: Nutrition policy and practices in childcare


'Child-care nutrition environments: results from a survey of policy and practice in New Zealand early childhood education services' is the first paper in a series, detailing results from the Kai Time in ECE survey.


The full academic paper can be found online on the Public Health Nutrition journal website:

Gerritsen, S., Wall, C., & Morton, S. (2015). Child-care nutrition environments: results from a survey of policy and practice in New Zealand early childhood education services. Public Health Nutrition, volume 19, issue 09, pp. 1531-1542. doi:10.1017/S1368980015002955

© Cambridge University Press, Public Health Nutrition

      

FAQ


What is this research about and why is it needed?

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is an increasingly important area of young children's lives; New Zealand children start ECE services at an earlier age, and attend for more hours per day, than ever before. The ECE environment has the potential to influence a child's diet, food preferences, eating behaviours and physical activity for a lifetime, and we know that there are currently some great initiatives in ECE services to support children's health and wellbeing. However, the last survey on New Zealand's ECE food and nutrition environment was done five years ago and that study was unable to link what is happening in ECE services with child health outcomes. Kai Time in ECE is needed to update our knowledge on the environments where New Zealand children increasingly play, learn and grow.

This survey adds valuable data to the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study and will enable us to examine how different ECE environments are influencing the diet and growth patterns of pre-school children. This kind of research exploring the association between children's health and their ECE environment has never been done before in New Zealand.

 

How will the information be stored and kept confidential?

Any information that could be used to identify individual ECEs or managers will be removed so that the data can only be identified by a unique code (survey key). The record of which ECE services have participated in the research along with their unique code will be kept in password protected files and any hard-copies kept in a locked cabinet at the University of Auckland. The record of which ECE services have participated in the research will be kept for 6 years from the end date of the survey and then securely destroyed. Data from this survey, with any identifiers removed, will be retained at the University of Auckland for the length of the Growing Up in New Zealand study.

Results from this survey will be reported at group-level, for example, by the type of ECE service. All care will be taken to ensure that individual ECE services and mangers cannot be identified in any publications or media generated by this research.


Who has funded this research?

This research is part of PhD research funded by the University of Auckland and Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development (a Centre of Research Excellence funded by the Tertiary Education Commission).

This survey is now closed and no further responses are required.


Thank you to everyone who has given their time to help us with this research.

Tēnā rāwā atu koe.

 

Any more questions?

The lead researcher on this project is a PhD student at the Centre for Longitudinal Research at the University of Auckland, Sarah Gerritsen. If you would like to discuss this research with her, please phone 09 373 7599 ext 84262 or email s.gerritsen@auckland.ac.nz with your questions or comments.

The supervisors of the research are Associate Professor Susan Morton (Population Health) and Dr. Clare Wall (Nutrition) from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, the University of Auckland.

For any queries regarding ethical concerns you may contact the Chair, The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee, The University of Auckland, Research Office, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Telephone 09 373-7599 extn 87830/83761. Email: humanethics@auckland.ac.nz.


APPROVED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND HUMAN PARTICIPANTS ETHICS COMMITTEE REF No 010973 DEC 2013