Outcomes From Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Recognition Programs in Early Child Care and Education: A Scoping Review

Katherine R. Arlinghaus, Mary M Schroeder, Abby Gold, Lenora P. Goodman, Gerit Wagner, Molly Pass, Shanda Hunt, Jamie Stang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Recognition programs are designed to incentivize early care and education (ECE) settings to implement childhood obesity prevention standards, yet little is known regarding their efficacy. This scoping review details characteristics, methodologies, and criteria used to evaluate recognition programs, identifies gaps in evaluation, and synthesizes existing evidence. Data Source: A public health librarian created the search strategies for six databases: Ovid MEDLINE, AGRICOLA, CAB Abstracts, PAIS Index, ERIC, and Scopus. Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria: Inclusion criteria include recognition program, ECE setting, nutrition or physical activity, and qualitative or quantitative outcomes. Exclusion criteria include programming without recognition component, no ECE setting, no nutrition or physical activity outcome, case studies, or not written in English. Data Extraction: Three researchers independently extracted and complied data into an Excel spreadsheet. Data Synthesis: Tables were created describing location, recognition program criteria, award incentive, study design, study sample, risk of bias, and outcomes (e.g., menu nutrition) evaluated in each study. Results: Three unique recognition programs (described in 7 studies) provided technical assistance, incentives, and training. While outcome measures and study designs varied across programs, it is clear that recognition programs are well accepted and feasible, and one study demonstrated beneficial weight outcomes. Conclusion: Although additional evaluation is needed, recognition programs may be a promising strategy to improve obesity prevention practices in ECE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-145
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by HRSA/MCHB Public Health Nutrition Training Grant 6 T79MC00007-32-01; and Award Number T32DK083250 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of HRSA, the NIDDK, or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • children
  • early child care
  • nutrition
  • obesity
  • physical activity
  • policy
  • recognition programs

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Outcomes From Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Recognition Programs in Early Child Care and Education: A Scoping Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this