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In order to mitigate childhood obesity, evidence on what influences children’s health behaviours is needed to inform new health promotion strategies. The present study investigated the association between parental practices and their child’s diet and body weight status.
Grade 5 students and their parents completed health surveys. Parents were asked how much they ‘encourage their child to eat healthy foods’ and how much they ‘personally care about healthy eating’. Children’s diet quality and vegetable and fruit intake were assessed using an FFQ. Children’s heights and weights were measured to determine body weight status. Mixed-effects regression models were used to determine the influence of parental responses on the outcomes of interest.
Elementary schools across the province of Alberta, Canada.
Grade 5 students (aged 10 and 11 years; n 8388) and their parent(s).
Most parents reported caring about healthy eating and encouraging their child to eat healthy foods at least quite a lot. Children whose parents who cared or encouraged ‘very much’ compared with ‘quite a lot’ were more likely have better diet quality and were less likely to be overweight. Children whose parents both cared and encouraged ‘very much’ compared with ‘quite a lot’ scored an average of 2·06 points higher on the diet quality index (β=2·06; 95 % CI 1·45, 2·66).
Health promotion strategies that aim for a high level of parental interest and encouragement of their children to eat healthy foods may improve diet quality and prevent overweight among children.
To examine the association between frequency of assisting with home meal preparation and fruit and vegetable preference and self-efficacy for making healthier food choices among grade 5 children in Alberta, Canada.
A cross-sectional survey design was used. Children were asked how often they helped prepare food at home and rated their preference for twelve fruits and vegetables on a 3-point Likert-type scale. Self-efficacy was measured with six items on a 4-point Likert-type scale asking children their level of confidence in selecting and eating healthy foods at home and at school.
Schools (n 151) located in Alberta, Canada.
Grade 5 students (n 3398).
A large majority (83–93 %) of the study children reported helping in home meal preparation at least once monthly. Higher frequency of helping prepare and cook food at home was associated with higher fruit and vegetable preference and with higher self-efficacy for selecting and eating healthy foods.
Encouraging children to be more involved in home meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy. These findings suggest that the incorporation of activities teaching children how to prepare simple and healthy meals in health promotion programmes could potentially lead to improvement in dietary habits.
To identify sociodemographic and environmental correlates of sweetened beverages (regular soft drinks, fruit juice) among children of pre-school age.
Children's dietary intake, food behaviours and screen time were measured by parental report. A Geographic Informational System was used to assess the number of grocery stores and fast-food restaurants available within 1 km of the children's residence. Multivariate log-binomial regression models were constructed to determine correlates of drinking soft drinks during the previous week.
Edmonton region, Canada.
Children aged 4 and 5 years (n 2114) attending a public health unit for immunization were recruited for a cohort study on determinants of childhood obesity, between 2005 and 2007.
Children from neighbourhoods with low socio-economic status (relative risk (RR) = 1·17, 95 % CI 0·98, 1·40) or who participated in >2 h of screen time daily (RR = 1·28, 95 % CI 1·13, 1·45) were significantly more likely to have consumed regular soft drinks within the last week. Those who lived within 1 km of a grocery store were significantly less likely to consume regular soft drinks (RR = 0·84, 95 % CI 0·73, 0·96). Children who participated in >2 h of screen time daily (RR = 1·16, 95 % CI 1·06, 1·27) were more likely to exceed the recommended weekly number of servings of fruit juice.
Socio-economic and built environment factors are associated with soft drink consumption in children of pre-school age. These findings may help health professionals to advocate for policies that reduce soft drink consumption among children.
The increasing prevalence of obesity among youth has elicited calls for schools to become more active in promoting healthy weight. The present study examined associations between various aspects of school food environments (specifically the availability of snack- and beverage-vending machines and the presence of snack and beverage logos) and students’ weight status, as well as potential influences of indices of diet and food behaviours.
A cross-sectional, self-administered web-based survey. A series of multinomial logistic regressions with generalized estimating equations (GEE) were constructed to examine associations between school environment variables (i.e. the reported presence of beverage- and snack-vending machines and logos) and self-reported weight- and diet-related behaviours.
Secondary schools in Alberta, Canada.
A total of 4936 students from grades 7 to 10.
The presence of beverage-vending machines in schools was associated with the weight status of students. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with students’ frequency of consuming vended goods. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with the frequency of salty snack consumption.
The reported presence of snack- and beverage-vending machines and logos in schools is related to some indices of weight status, diet and meal behaviours but not to others. The present study supported the general hypothesis that the presence of vending machines in schools may affect students’ weight through increased consumption of vended goods, but notes that the frequency of ‘junk’ food consumption does not seem to be related to the presence of vending machines, perhaps reflecting the ubiquity of these foods in the daily lives of students.
To assess the overall diet quality of a sample of adolescents living in Alberta, Canada, and evaluate whether diet quality, nutrient intakes, meal behaviours (i.e. meal skipping and consuming meals away from home) and physical activity are related.
A cross-sectional study design. Students completed the self-administered Web-Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition (Web-SPAN). Students were classified as having poor, average or superior diet quality based on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating (CFGHE).
One hundred and thirty-six schools (37 %) within forty-four public and private school boards (75 %) in Alberta, Canada.
Grade 7 to 10 Alberta students (n 4936) participated in the school-based research.
On average, students met macronutrient requirements; however, micronutrient and fibre intakes were suboptimal. Median CFGHE food group intakes were below recommendations. Those with poor diet quality (42 %) had lower intakes of protein, fibre and low-calorie beverages; higher intakes of carbohydrates, fat and Other Foods (e.g. foods containing mostly sugar, high-salt/fat foods, high-calorie beverages, low-calorie beverages and high-sugar/fat foods); a lower frequency of consuming breakfast and a higher frequency of consuming meals away from home; and a lower level of physical activity when compared with students with either average or superior diet quality.
Alberta adolescents were not meeting minimum CFGHE recommendations, and thus had suboptimal intakes and poor diet quality. Suboptimal nutritional intakes, meal behaviours and physical inactivity were all related to poor diet quality and reflect the need to target these health behaviours in order to improve diet quality and overall health and wellness.
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