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The National Afterschool Association (NAA) standards specify the role of summer day camps (SDC) in promoting healthy nutrition habits of the children attending, identifying foods and beverages to be provided to children and staff roles in promoting good nutrition habits. However, many SDC do not provide meals. Currently, national guidelines specifying what children are allowed to bring to such settings do not exist, nor is there a solid understanding of the current landscape surrounding healthy eating within SDC.
A cross-sectional study design using validated measures with multiple observations was used to determine the types of foods and beverages brought to SDC programmes.
Four large-scale, community-based SDC participated in the study during summer 2011.
The types of foods and beverages brought by children (n 766) and staff (n 87), as well as any instances of staff promoting healthy eating behaviours, were examined via direct observation over 27 d. Additionally, the extent to which current foods and beverages at SDC complied with NAA standards was evaluated.
Less than half of the children brought water, 47 % brought non-100 % juices, 4 % brought soda, 4 % brought a vegetable and 20 % brought fruit. Staff foods and beverages modelled similar patterns. Promotion of healthy eating by staff was observed <1 % of the time.
Findings suggest that foods and beverages brought to SDC by children and staff do not support nutrition standards and staff do not regularly promote healthy eating habits. To assist, professional development, parent education and organizational policies are needed.
To review and synthesize existing national and state organizations’ policies related to the nutritional quality of snacks served in after-school programmes (ASP; 15.00–18.00 hours) in the USA.
Systematic review of websites and corresponding documentation describing national and state-level ASP organizations’ policies, standards, guidelines and/or recommendations for the nutritional quality of snacks served within the ASP setting.
ASP can play a critical role in a child's daily dietary intake. State and national organizations have developed policies to assist ASP in selecting nutritionally appropriate snacks, yet no widely accepted standards exist. By reviewing the extent of existing policies, recommendations for uniform policies can be made.
A total of seventeen organizations representing five unique snack policies comprised of thirteen different food items were identified. The most widely recognized snack policy, which the majority of state and national ASP organizations endorsed and upon which other snack policies were modelled, was the US Department of Agriculture reimbursement programmes. Consistently, policies endorsed serving fruits/vegetables, whole grains and milk/dairy products, and limiting foods high in fats/sugar/energy (calories). Two policies focused predominantly on total energy and macronutrient composition of snacks, a single policy suggested limits on sugar-sweetened beverages, and three endorsed serving water daily. A proposed set of general guidelines for ASP was developed based on uniformity in recommendations across policies.
The proposed set of nutritional guidelines will assist policy makers and ASP providers in selecting and serving nutritionally appropriate snacks that contribute to a child's overall healthful daily dietary intake.
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