Improving Feeding Practices in Childcare Settings


Feeding practices (how and when adults feed young children) impact the foods children eat, as well as their lifelong food preferences and eating habits. Early care and education programs are an effective setting for obesity prevention, as preschool-aged children eat many of their meals while in non-parental care. The long-term goal of this postdoctoral fellowship project is to address early childhood obesity and enhance the nutrition and health of young children by improving feeding practices in early care and education settings. Specifically, this project examines care providers’ knowledge, motivation, and behavioral skills concerning feeding practices in order to develop online extension materials to help child care providers use feeding practices that promote healthy eating habits. Additionally, this project includes an educational component in which undergraduate students learn about and gain hands-on experience with research and extension programing related to childhood obesity prevention.

Downloadable Overview

Improving Feeding Practices in Childcare Settings Overview PDF

Research Team

  • Katherine Speirs, PhD, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor, Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona
  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Family Resiliency Center Director, Human Development and Family Studies


This material is based on work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Katherine Speirs
Assistant Professor, University of Arizona
Phone: 520-621-1691