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To assess the prevalence of and explanations for wheat avoidance, including reported symptoms, diagnoses and information sources influencing the decision to avoid wheat, and to investigate potential psychological predictors of this behaviour.
Cross-sectional population survey.
The study was conducted in Australia, using a nationwide postal omnibus survey.
Adults aged 18 years and over (n 1184; 52·9 % female) selected at random from the Australian Electoral Roll.
With cases of stated and suspected coeliac disease (1·2 %) excluded, 7·3 % of the sample reported adverse physiological effects, predominantly gastrointestinal, that they associated with wheat consumption. Few among this group (5·7 %) claimed a formally diagnosed intolerance or allergy requiring avoidance of wheat-based foods. Symptomatic wheat avoidance was highly correlated with dairy avoidance and predicted by gender (female), lesser receptiveness to conventional medicine and greater receptiveness to complementary medicine, but not by neuroticism, reasoning style or tendency to worry about illness.
The data indicate that many adult Australians are consciously avoiding consumption of wheat foods, predominantly without any formal diagnosis. Reported symptoms suggest a physiological but not allergenic basis to this behaviour. Questions to be answered concern whether symptoms are attributed correctly to wheat, the agents (wheat components, dietary factors or additives) and physiological mechanism(s) involved, the nutritional adequacy of avoiders’ diets, and the clinical and psychosocial processes that lead a substantial number of adults to avoid consuming wheat (or any other dietary factor) apparently independently of a medical diagnosis.
To examine whether parents offering a sticker reward to their child to taste a vegetable the child does not currently consume is associated with improvements in children's liking and consumption of the vegetable.
A randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of exposure only (EO) and exposure plus reward (E + R), relative to a control group, on children's liking and consumption of a target vegetable. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 2 weeks from baseline (post-intervention). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 4 weeks and 3 months from baseline.
The study took place in Adelaide, South Australia. Participants were self-selected in response to local media advertisements seeking to recruit parents finding it difficult to get their children to eat vegetables.
Participants were 185 children (110 boys, seventy-five girls) aged 4–6 years and their primary caregiver/parent (172 mothers, thirteen fathers).
The E + R group was able to achieve more days of taste exposure. Both EO and E + R increased liking at post-intervention compared with control and no further change occurred over the follow-up period. All groups increased their intake of the target vegetable at post-intervention. Target vegetable consumption continued to increase significantly over the follow-up period for E + R and control but not for EO.
The findings provide support for the effectiveness of using a sticker reward with a repeated exposure strategy. In particular, such rewards can facilitate the actual tastings necessary to change liking.
To identify parents’ concerns and attitudes towards children’s diets, activity habits and weight status.
Computer-assisted telephone interviewing administration of a 37-item survey. Data were weighted for parental education level. Descriptive results are presented, and comparisons are made by the age, gender and parental characteristics of the child.
Online research panel of Australian parents.
A total of 1202 randomly selected parents of children aged 2–16 years, broadly representative of the Australian population.
Parents were concerned about their child’s education (reported by 35 % of respondents), child’s health and well-being (25 %), and violence, drugs and alcohol (20 %). Concern about nutrition was indicated by 14 % of respondents and concern about fitness/exercise was indicated by 3 % of the sample. Factors perceived as making a healthy diet difficult to achieve for their child were child resistance (89 %), the availability of healthy food (72 %), a busy lifestyle (67 %) and the influence of food advertising (63 %). Ninety-two per cent of parents thought that it was realistic for their child to be active for at least 1 h/d, with 75 % of parents feeling that it was realistic for their child to have less than 2 h recreational screen time per d. Despite this, common barriers to achieving the activity guidelines were lack of time, weather and keeping children occupied.
Insights into parental concerns from the current study may be useful in guiding development of interventions to improve children’s nutrition and physical activity habits by framing messages in a way that are most likely to resonate with parents.
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