BACKGROUND: Early care and education settings (ECE) are potential venues for young children to develop healthy lifestyle habits. The study assesses training needs and associations with relevant practices of licensed ECE providers across Minnesota and Wisconsin. METHODS: A random sample of 823 providers completed a 97-item survey assessing nutrition and physical activity (PA) practices and training needs. Logistic regression, adjusted for program type (center- and family home-based), and location (urban/rural) examined associations between the top 3 selected training needs and provider practices. RESULTS: Top training needs: (1) ways to effectively engage parents about healthy eating and PA, (2) low-cost ways to serve healthy foods, and (3) fun and easy nutrition education curricula. Providers who reported being not happy/somewhat happy vs happy/very happy with parent communication were more likely to need training to engage parents. Among providers who prepared food on-site, shopping at Farmer's Market had lower odds of needing training for serving healthy meals on a budget. Not having completed nutrition training in the past year providers were more likely to need training for fun and easy nutrition education curricula. CONCLUSIONS: Providers need additional training to improve communication with parents, healthy food shopping practices, and nutrition-related games.
- ECE provider training
- childcare center
- family home
- nutrition and physical activity