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Globally, grandparents are the main informal childcare providers with one-quarter of children aged ≤5 years regularly cared for by grandparents in Australia, the UK and USA. Research is conflicting; many studies claim grandparents provide excessive amounts of discretionary foods (e.g. high in fat/sugar/sodium) while others suggest grandparents can positively influence children’s diet behaviours. The present study aimed to explore the meaning and role of food treats among grandparents who provide regular informal care of young grandchildren.
Qualitative methodology utilising a grounded theory approach. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and focus groups, then thematically analysed.
Participants were recruited through libraries, churches and playgroups in South Australia.
Grandparents (n 12) caring for grandchild/ren aged 1–5 years for 10 h/week or more.
Three themes emerged: (i) the functional role of treats (e.g. to reward good behaviour); (ii) grandparent role, responsibility and identity (e.g. the belief that grandparent and parent roles differ); and (iii) the rules regarding food treats (e.g. negotiating differences between own and parental rules). Grandparents favoured core-food over discretionary-food treats. They considered the risks (e.g. dental caries) and rewards (e.g. pleasure) of food treats and balanced their wishes with those of their grandchildren and parents.
Food treats play an important role in the grandparent–grandchild relationship and are used judiciously by grandparents to differentiate their identity and relationship from parents and other family members. This research offers an alternative narrative to the dominant discourse regarding grandparents spoiling grandchildren with excessive amounts of discretionary foods.
To examine dietary Na and K intake at eating occasions in Australian adults and identify the contribution of major food sources to Na and K at different eating occasions.
Secondary analysis of 24 h recall diet data from the Australian Health Survey (2011–2013).
Nationally representative survey in Australia.
Male and female Australians aged 18–84 years (n 7818).
Dinner contributed the greatest proportion to total daily Na intake (33 %) and K intake (35 %). Na density was highest at lunch (380 mg/MJ) and K density highest at between-meal time eating occasions (401 mg/MJ). Between-meal time eating occasions provided 20 % of daily Na intake and 26 % of daily K intake. The major food group sources of Na were different at meal times (breads and mixed dishes) compared with between-meal times (cakes, muffins, scones, cake-type desserts). The top food group sources of K at meal times were potatoes and unprocessed meat products and dishes.
Foods which contributed to Na and K intake differed according to eating occasion. Major food sources of Na were bread and processed foods. Major food sources of K were potatoes and meat products and dishes. Public health messages that emphasise meal-based advice and diet patterns high in vegetables, fruits and unprocessed foods may also aid reduction in dietary Na intake and increase in dietary K intake.
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