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JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Multistrategy childcare-based intervention to improve compliance with nutrition guidelines versus usual care in long day care services: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Kirsty Seward, Luke Wolfenden, Meghan Finch, John Wiggers, Rebecca Wyse, Jannah Jones, Karen Gillham, Sze Lin Yoong
BMJ Open 2016 June 14, 6 (6): e010786
27301484

INTRODUCTION: Interventions to improve child diet are recommended as dietary patterns developed in childhood track into adulthood and influence the risk of chronic disease. For child health, childcare services are required to provide foods to children consistent with nutrition guidelines. Research suggests that foods and beverages provided by services to children are often inconsistent with nutrition guidelines. The primary aim of this study is to assess, relative to a usual care control group, the effectiveness of a multistrategy childcare-based intervention in improving compliance with nutrition guidelines in long day care services.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The study will employ a parallel group randomised controlled trial design. A sample of 58 long day care services that provide all meals (typically includes 1 main and 2 mid-meals) to children while they are in care, in the Hunter New England region of New South Wales, Australia, will be randomly allocated to a 6-month intervention to support implementation of nutrition guidelines or a usual care control group in a 1:1 ratio. The intervention was designed to overcome barriers to the implementation of nutrition guidelines assessed using the theoretical domains framework. Intervention strategies will include the provision of staff training and resources, audit and feedback, ongoing support and securing executive support. The primary outcome of the trial will be the change in the proportion of long day care services that have a 2-week menu compliant with childcare nutrition guidelines, measured by comprehensive menu assessments. As a secondary outcome, child dietary intake while in care will also be assessed. To assess the effectiveness of the intervention, the measures will be undertaken at baseline and ∼6 months postbaseline.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was approved by the Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee. Study findings will be disseminated widely through peer-reviewed publications.

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