Associations between characteristics of the home food environment and fruit and vegetable intake in preschool children: A cross-sectional study

Faculty of Health, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, c/o Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW 2287, Australia.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.32). 12/2011; 11:938. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-938
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Early childhood is critical to the development of lifelong food habits. Given the high proportion of children with inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, identification of modifiable factors associated with higher consumption may be useful in developing interventions to address this public health issue. This study aimed to identify the characteristics of the home food environment that are associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption in a sample of Australian preschool children.
A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted with 396 parents of 3 to 5 year-old children attending 30 preschools within the Hunter region, New South Wales, Australia. Children's fruit and vegetable consumption was measured using a valid and reliable subscale from the Children's Dietary Questionnaire. Associations were investigated between children's fruit and vegetable intake and characteristics of the home food environment including parental role-modeling, parental providing behaviour, fruit and vegetable availability, fruit and vegetable accessibility, pressure to eat, family eating policies and family mealtime practices. Characteristics of the home food environment that showed evidence of an association with children's fruit and vegetable consumption in simple regression models were entered into a backwards stepwise multiple regression analysis. The multiple regression analysis used generalised linear mixed models, controlled for parental education, household income and child gender, and was adjusted for the correlation between children's fruit and vegetable consumption within a preschool.
The multiple regression analysis found positive associations between children's fruit and vegetable consumption and parental fruit and vegetable intake (p=0.005), fruit and vegetable availability (p=0.006) and accessibility (p=0.012), the number of occasions each day that parents provided their child with fruit and vegetables (p<0.001), and allowing children to eat only at set meal times all or most of the time (p=0.006). Combined, these characteristics of the home food environment accounted for 48% of the variation in the child's fruit and vegetable score.
This study identified a range of modifiable characteristics within the home food environment that are associated with fruit and vegetable consumption among preschool children. Such characteristics could be considered potential targets for interventions to promote intake among children of this age.

Download full-text


Available from: Nicole Nathan, Jun 26, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The modern world is rife with opportunities to overeat – yet not everyone becomes obese. This could be because individuals differ in appetite-related traits that manifest early in development and predict weight trajectories. What determines these traits? Parental feeding studies generally show that restrictive feeding is linked with heightened appetite, and pressure to eat with reduced appetite. But these relationships reflect parents responding to children as well as vice versa. In fact, twin studies argue that nature, rather than nurture, is the largest contributor to child appetite, and behavioral investigations of obesity-associated variants arising from genome-wide association studies confirm the contribution of genes to eating behavior. Little is known about biological contributions to appetitive traits in humans, or how genetic and environmental influences interact at a biological level to influence appetite. However a number of brain imaging studies have investigated responses to food cues and intake in adults, children, and groups at high familial and/or genetic obesity risk, and results are so far consistent with the possibility that functional and structural variation in networks subserving motivation and control is associated with appetite and obesity, and shows genetic influence. The emerging biobehavioral susceptibility model provides a useful, inclusive framework for explaining child and adult obesity. It also suggests that prevention and treatment strategies should acknowledge the powerful contribution of genetic and biological influences to eating behavior, and focus on stimulus control as well as novel interventions to modify appetitive tendencies.
    Appetite 10/2012; 59(2):622. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2012.05.048 · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We live in a world replete with opportunities to overeat highly calorific, palatable foods - yet not everyone becomes obese. Why? We propose that individuals show differences in appetitive traits (e.g. food cue responsiveness, satiety sensitivity) that manifest early in life and predict their eating behaviours and weight trajectories. What determines these traits? Parental feeding restriction is associated with higher child adiposity, pressure to eat with lower adiposity, and both strategies with less healthy eating behaviours, while authoritative feeding styles coincide with more positive outcomes. But, on the whole, twin and family studies argue that nature has a greater influence than nurture on adiposity and eating behaviour, and behavioural investigations of genetic variants that are robustly associated with obesity (e.g. FTO) confirm that genes influence appetite. Meanwhile, a growing body of neuroimaging studies in adults, children and high risk populations suggests that structural and functional variation in brain networks associated with reward, emotion and control might also predict appetite and obesity, and show genetic influence. Together these different strands of evidence support a biobehavioural risk model of obesity development. Parental feeding recommendations should therefore acknowledge the powerful - but modifiable - contribution of genetic and neurological influences to children's eating behaviour.
    International Review of Psychiatry 06/2012; 24(3):189-99. DOI:10.3109/09540261.2012.676988 · 1.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Consumption of non-core foods in childhood is associated with excessive weight gain in childhood. Parents play a vital role in establishing healthy diet behaviours in young children. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a telephone-based intervention in reducing child consumption of non-core foods, and to examine parent and home food environment mediators of change in child consumption. METHODS: The 'Healthy Habits' trial utilised a clustered randomised controlled design.Setting/participants: Parents were recruited from 30 preschools (N = 394 participants, mean age 35.2+/-5.6 years). Parents randomized to the intervention group received four telephone contacts and print materials. Parents allocated to the control condition receive generic print materials only. Non-core food consumption was assessed using a validated child dietary questionnaire at baseline, 2 and 6 months post recruitment in 2010. RESULTS: The intervention was effective in reducing child consumption of non-core foods at 2 months (intention to treat analysis: z=-2.83, p<.01), however this effect was not maintained at 6 months. Structural equation modelling using 2 month data indicated that child access to non-core foods in the home and child feeding strategies mediated the effect of the intervention. CONCLUSION: The telephone-based intervention shows promise in improving short term dietary behaviour in preschool age children, however further development is needed to sustain the effect in the long-term.Trial registration: Australian Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12609000820202.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 04/2013; 10(1):43. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-10-43 · 3.68 Impact Factor