Ecological Approach to Family-Style, Multilevel Child Care Intervention: Formative Evaluation Using RE-AIM Framework

Dipti A. Dev, Irene Padasas, Carly Hillburn, Virginia C. Stage, David A. Dzewaltowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Conduct formative evaluation of Ecological Approach to Family-Style Dining (EAT) Intervention. Design: Qualitative semistructured interviews and demographic surveys. Setting: Early care and education (ECE) centers in Nebraska. Participants: Cooperative Extension coaches (n = 9), ECE administrators (n = 8), and teachers (n = 17) caring for children aged 3–5 years. Intervention: The EAT intervention (a 16-week, 7-lesson, evidence-based online responsive feeding ECE model) uses a multilevel improvement system of 5 implementation strategies. Early care and education administrators and teachers completed 1 lesson/wk followed by a coaching session. Main Outcome Measures: The Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance framework includes 5 evaluative dimensions. Analysis: Thematic analysis. Results: Overall, 77% of children aged 3-5 years (n = 216) participated from targeted Child and Adult Care Food Program ECEs (Reach). All perceived EAT improved children's nutritional and developmental outcomes and encouraged a positive mealtime environment (Effectiveness). Coaches found professional development incentives important, whereas administrators/teachers valued inservice hours (Adoption). Teachers reported successful implementation of responsive feeding, and administrators supported the teachers (Implementation). All reported they intended to continue using EAT, and administrators and teachers discussed incorporating EAT practices into the handbook/school policy (Maintenance). Conclusion and Implications: The EAT was valued by all stakeholders for its perceived effectiveness to positively impact children's nutritional outcomes. Furthermore, stakeholders valued the provided incentives and multilevel design with coaching, ECE administrators, and teachers. Future research is needed on how to use Extension coaches in ECE interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-744
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • child care
  • feeding behavior
  • food assistance
  • implementation science
  • program evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecological Approach to Family-Style, Multilevel Child Care Intervention: Formative Evaluation Using RE-AIM Framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this