Associations of parenting styles, parental feeding practices and child characteristics with young children's fruit and vegetable consumption

FWO Flanders, Belgium.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.52). 12/2010; 55(3):589-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.09.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of parent and child characteristics in explaining children's fruit and vegetable intakes. In 2008, parents of preschoolers (mean age 3.5 years) from 56 schools in Belgium-Flanders completed questionnaires including a parent and child fruit and vegetable food frequency questionnaire, general parenting styles (laxness, overreactivity and positive interactions), specific food parenting practices (child-centered and parent-centered feeding practices) and children's characteristics (children's shyness, emotionality, stubbornness, activity, sociability, and negative reactions to food). Multiple linear regression analyses (n = 755) indicated a significant positive association between children's fruit and vegetable intake and parent's intake and a negative association with children's negative reactions to food. No general parenting style dimension or child personality characteristic explained differences in children's fruit and vegetable intakes. Child-centered feeding practices were positively related to children's fruit and vegetable intakes, while parent-centered feeding practices were negatively related to children's vegetable intakes. In order to try to increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption, parents should be guided to improve their own diet and to use child-centered parenting practices and strategies known to decrease negative reactions to food.

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    ABSTRACT: To develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a parental support programme to promote healthy dietary and physical activity habits and to prevent overweight and obesity in Swedish children. A cluster-randomised controlled trial was carried out in areas with low to medium socio-economic status. Participants were six-year-old children (n = 243) and their parents. Fourteen pre-school classes were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 7) and control groups (n = 7). The intervention lasted for 6 months and included: 1) Health information for parents, 2) Motivational Interviewing with parents and 3) Teacher-led classroom activities with children. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry, dietary and physical activity habits and parental self-efficacy through a questionnaire. Body weight and height were measured and BMI standard deviation score was calculated. Measurements were conducted at baseline, post-intervention and at 6-months follow-up. Group differences were examined using analysis of covariance and Poisson regression, adjusted for gender and baseline values. There was no significant intervention effect in the primary outcome physical activity. Sub-group analyses showed a significant gender-group interaction in total physical activity (TPA), with girls in the intervention group demonstrating higher TPA during weekends (p = 0.04), as well as in sedentary time, with boys showing more sedentary time in the intervention group (p = 0.03). There was a significantly higher vegetable intake (0.26 servings) in the intervention group compared to the control group (p = 0.003). At follow-up, sub-group analyses showed a sustained effect for boys. The intervention did not affect the prevalence of overweight or obesity. It is possible to influence vegetable intake in children and girls' physical activity through a parental support programme. The programme needs to be intensified in order to increase effectiveness and sustain the effects long-term. These findings are an important contribution to the further development of evidence-based parental support programmes to prevent overweight and obesity in children. ISRCTN32750699.
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