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To examine associations between maternal parenting style and pre-school children’s dietary intake and to test whether perceived maternal time pressures, parenting arrangements and employment status influence these relationships.
This cross-sectional study examined mothers’ reports of their child’s frequency of consumption of eight food and drink groups, including sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), unhealthy snacks, takeaway foods, fruit and vegetables. Parenting styles were classified as authoritative, authoritarian, permissive or disengaged using two parenting dimensions (warmth and control). The moderating roles of parenting arrangements, indexed by number of parents in the home and maternal employment status, were assessed. Associations were examined using multinomial regression.
Data were from the infant and child cohorts in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
Children aged 4–5 years from both cohorts (infant: n 3607; child: n 4661) were included.
Compared with children of disengaged mothers, children of authoritative mothers consumed most unhealthy foods less frequently, and fruit and vegetables more frequently. Results suggested parenting arrangements and mothers’ working status may moderate associations between parenting styles and SSB, takeaway foods, takeaway snacks and fruit consumption.
These findings suggest that authoritative parenting style is associated with a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables and a lower consumption of unhealthy foods among children. However, parenting arrangements and the mothers’ working status may influence these relationships. Further research is required to examine the influence of other potential moderators of parenting style/food consumption relationships such as household time and resource limitations.
Meal skipping is a relatively common behaviour during adolescence. As peer influence increases during adolescence, friendship groups may play a role in determining eating patterns such as meal skipping. The current study examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between perceived friends’ support of healthy eating and breakfast and lunch skipping among adolescents.
Survey of intrapersonal, social and environmental factors that may influence eating patterns at baseline (2004/05) and follow-up (2006/07).
Thirty-seven secondary schools in Victoria, Australia.
Sample of 1785 students aged 12–15 years at baseline.
Adolescents who reported that their friends sometimes or often ate healthy foods with them were less likely (adjusted OR; 95 % CI) to skip breakfast (sometimes: 0·71; 0·57, 0·90; often: 0·54; 0·38, 0·76) or lunch (sometimes: 0·61; 0·41, 0·89; often: 0·59; 0·37, 0·94) at baseline than those who reported their friends never or rarely displayed this behaviour. Although this variable was associated with lunch skipping at follow-up, there was no evidence of an association with breakfast skipping at follow-up. There was no evidence of an association between perceived encouragement of healthy eating, and an inconsistent relationship between perceived discouragement of junk food consumption, and meal skipping.
Friends eating healthy foods together may serve to reduce meal skipping during early adolescence, possibly due to the influence of directly observable behaviour and shared beliefs held by those in the same friendship group. Verbal encouragement or discouragement from friends may be less impactful an influence on meal skipping (than directly observable behaviours) in adolescents.
FFQs are a popular method of capturing dietary information in epidemiological studies and may be used to derive dietary exposures such as nutrient intake or overall dietary patterns and diet quality. As FFQs can involve large numbers of questions, participants may fail to respond to all questions, leaving researchers to decide how to deal with missing data when deriving intake measures. The aim of the present commentary is to discuss the current practice for dealing with item non-response in FFQs and to propose a research agenda for reporting and handling missing data in FFQs.
Single imputation techniques, such as zero imputation (assuming no consumption of the item) or mean imputation, are commonly used to deal with item non-response in FFQs. However, single imputation methods make strong assumptions about the missing data mechanism and do not reflect the uncertainty created by the missing data. This can lead to incorrect inference about associations between diet and health outcomes. Although the use of multiple imputation methods in epidemiology has increased, these have seldom been used in the field of nutritional epidemiology to address missing data in FFQs. We discuss methods for dealing with item non-response in FFQs, highlighting the assumptions made under each approach.
Researchers analysing FFQs should ensure that missing data are handled appropriately and clearly report how missing data were treated in analyses. Simulation studies are required to enable systematic evaluation of the utility of various methods for handling item non-response in FFQs under different assumptions about the missing data mechanism.