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Vitamin D supplementation in young children: associations with Theory of Planned Behaviour variables, descriptive norms, moral norms and habits

  • Jascha de Nooijer (a1), Monique Onnink (a1) and Patricia van Assema (a1)

Abstract

Objective

In the Netherlands, a supplementation of 10 μg vitamin D is recommended for children (aged 0–4 years), given that vitamin D contributes to the development of healthy bones and deficiency during childhood is a risk factor for osteoporosis at a later age. However, only 60 % of the Dutch children receive sufficient vitamin D supplementation a day. In order to develop interventions to improve supplementation intake, it is necessary to gain insight into the behaviour of parents in giving their children vitamin D supplementation and its association with variables of the Theory of Planned Behaviour, moral and descriptive norms and habits.

Design

A cross-sectional survey to assess present supplementation-related behaviour, knowledge, received information, intention, attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, moral norm, descriptive norm and habit.

Setting

Data obtained from a representative Internet Panel by means of electronic questionnaires.

Subjects

Parents (n 270) of children aged 0–4 years.

Results

Half of the parents (48·9 %) gave their child sufficient vitamin D supplementation. Giving the supplement at a fixed time, a positive intention and habit were significantly associated with actual behaviour. The higher age of the child, first-born status, a fixed time for taking vitamin supplementation, descriptive norm and moral obligation were significantly associated with intention.

Conclusions

These results indicate that because many parents do not give their children adequate vitamin D supplementation, the promotion of supplementation during the first years of life is a necessity. Effective yet simple strategies should be developed, focused on improving moral obligation, descriptive norms and habit formation.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email j.denooijer@gvo.unimaas.nl

References

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