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Mealtime Emotional Climate and Feeding Practices: An Avenue to Improve Children's Dietary Intake in the Early Care and Education Settings

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Jasmin Smith

Co-Principal Investigators: Dipti Dev

Funding Information

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Administration for Children and Families

Award Date: Sep 30, 2022

End Date: Sep 29, 2023


This study is designed to conduct the adaptation and validation of the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scales to capture mealtime emotional climate in childcare settings. 

Researchers will adapt and pilot an observational measure — Mealtime Emotional Climate in Childcare Observation Scales (MECCOS) — for assessing mealtime emotional climate in family childcare homes, then validate the measure and examine its predictive validity by analyzing the association between mealtime emotional climate, childrens dietary intake and providers feeding practices in the family childcare homes. 

Data will be gathered through video recording of two mealtimes for each of about 100 rural Nebraska family childcare home providers before participation in the Ecological Approach to (EAT) Family Style program and two mealtimes after completion. Family childcare home providers feeding practices will be measured through providers’ survey responses. Child-level data will include observation of food consumption by data collectors. 

Videos will be used to a home-based observational measures of MEC for use in the FCCH setting and reliability and face validity will be established.

Early Education & Development

Jasmin Smith, graduate student in Human Sciences–Child Development/Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is working with Dipti Dev, associate professor of child, youth and family studies and Nebraska Extension specialist, to explore the impact of mealtime emotional climate on child care providers’ feeding practices and children’s dietary outcomes.
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