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Adaptation, acceptability and feasibility of a Short Food Survey to assess the dietary intake of children during attendance at childcare
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-14, 23:11 authored by A Grady, A Fielding, RK Golley, M Finch, GA Hendrie, T Burrows, K Seward, C Lecathelinais, Serene YoongSerene Yoong
Objective: To (i) describe the adaptation of the Short Food Survey (SFS) for assessing the dietary intake of children (2-5 years) during attendance at Early Childhood Education and Care (SFS-ECEC); (ii) determine the acceptability and feasibility of the SFS-ECEC; and (iii) compare the SFS-ECEC to direct observations for assessing dietary intake of children in care.Design: The adapted forty-seven-item SFS-ECEC was completed by childcare educators to capture individual child's usual intake over the past month. Acceptability and feasibility were assessed via educator self-report and completion rates. Mean servings of food groups consumed in accordance with dietary guidelines reported in the SFS-ECEC were compared to those obtained by a single-day direct observation via visual estimation conducted by trained personnel. Mean differences, intra-class correlations, Bland-Altman plots, percentage agreement and Cohen's κ were examined.Setting: Early Childhood Education and Care, NSW, Australia.Participants: Educators and children.Results: 213 (98·61 %) SFS-ECECs were returned. Acceptability was high with 86·54 % of educators reporting the tool as easy to understand. Mean differences in servings of food groups between the SFS-ECEC and direct observation were statistically significantly different for five out of six foods and ranged 0·08-1·07, with intra-class correlations ranging 0·00-0·21. Agreement between the methods in the classification of children meeting or not meeting dietary guidelines ranged 42·78-93·01 %, with Cohen's κ ranging -0·03 to 0·14.Conclusions: The SFS-ECEC is acceptable and feasible for completion by childcare educators. While tool refinement and further validation is warranted, small mean differences suggest the tool may be useful in estimating group-level intakes.