Abstract: To identify parental child-feeding strategies that may increase children’s fruit or vegetable intake, since the relationship between these strategies and children’s intake has never been investigated for fruit and vegetables as two separate food groups.
A survey study, where parents provided information about their practices in relation to feeding their children and about their own and their children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Children completed a preference questionnaire about fruit and vegetables. To find underlying parental child-feeding strategies, factor analysis was applied to parents’ practices in relation to fruit and vegetables separately. Regression analysis was used to predict the effect of these strategies on children’s fruit and vegetable intake. The impact of the strategies was further analysed by estimating children’s intake based on the frequency of use of specific strategies.
The study was conducted at three primary schools in The Netherlands.
A total of 259 children between 4 and 12 years old and their parents (n 242).
Parents used different strategies for fruit as compared with vegetables. The vegetable-eating context was more negative than the fruit-eating context. Parental intake and presenting the children with choice were positive predictors of children’s intake of both fruit and vegetables. The intake difference based on frequency of use of the strategy ‘Choice’ was 40 g/d for vegetables and 72 g/d for fruit (P < 0·001).
Future interventions should focus on presenting children with choice during fruit- and vegetable-eating situations, since this is a powerful strategy to stimulate children’s fruit and vegetable intake.
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