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Developing a nutrition assessment tool for Irish pre‐schools

Charlotte Johnston Molloy (Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, Health Service Executive Dublin Mid‐Leinster, Mullingar, Republic of Ireland)
Clare Corish (Department of Biological Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
John Kearney (Department of Biological Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
Nóirín Hayes (Faculty of Applied Arts, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
Corina Glennon Slattery (Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, Health Service Executive Dublin Mid‐Leinster, Mullingar, Republic of Ireland)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 8 February 2011

671

Abstract

Purpose

The provision of nutritious food to children in full day care pre‐schools is essential to ensure adequate child growth and development. The purpose of this paper is to outline the development of a nutrition assessment tool (scored evaluation form (SEF)) for this setting, and describe the nutrition practice findings measured by this tool in full day child care in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

This study involved two phases: first, a comprehensive literature review carried out on each criterion in the SEF to ensure best practice; and second, use of the SEF in full day care pre‐schools to assess their nutrition practice.

Findings

Use of the SEF demonstrated that portion sizes provided to infants and toddlers were inadequate. Poor provision of iron containing, vegetable and dairy foods was noted, as were poor meal time practices. The phrasing of certain criteria needs modification to avoid misinterpretation of portion size.

Research limitations/implications

With small modifications to clarify the portion size provided, the SEF can be used in the pre‐school setting to ascertain nutrition practice.

Practical implications

The SEF requires testing to determine its utility as an intervention tool whereby its use may lead to positive changes in nutrition practice in the pre‐school setting.

Originality/value

This paper outlines the development of a nutrition practice assessment tool for the full day child care setting in Ireland and describes previously unknown data gathered using this tool.

Keywords

Citation

Johnston Molloy, C., Corish, C., Kearney, J., Hayes, N. and Glennon Slattery, C. (2011), "Developing a nutrition assessment tool for Irish pre‐schools", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346651111102883

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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