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Food literacy (FL) is a crucial need encompassing basic literacy and fundamental movement skills. The present study aimed to investigate the FL level in pre-schoolers and to evaluate the effect of potential predictors and the associations with gross motor and emergent literacy skills.
Cross-sectional study conducted within the Training-to-Health Project.
Kindergartens (n 21) in the Palermo City Council, Italy.
Pre-school children aged 3–6 years (n 921) followed education sessions on nutritional topics, practical activities and compiled prearranged sheets. FL was assessed by the five-domain toolkit ‘preschool-FLAT’; gross motor and emergent literacy skills were assessed by the Italian version of the gross motor development test and the PRCR-2/2009, respectively. Correlation and regression analyses were performed to assess relationships between FL scores and gender, age, weight, height, BMI, gross motor and emergent literacy skills.
Independent predictors (β, se) of higher FL were female gender (1·06, 0·315, P < 0·01), older age (0·08, 0·019, P < 0·001) and greater height (0·13, 0·03, P < 0·001). The adjusted coefficients were significant for quotient of gross motor development and in particular for the locomotor component (0·03, 0·01, P < 0·01 and 0·16, 0·046, P < 0·001, respectively). Almost all associations with the emergent literacy skills were significant (β = −0·02 to 0·47).
The study suggests that children raised in an environment where both cognitive and motor skills are enhanced can have better chances of increasing FL and success at school. Thus, the need for monitoring FL and its predictors since early age is highlighted.
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