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To evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a pilot family-based newsletter intervention to increase fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption among adolescents.
Family-based, two-group randomised control trial with baseline, post-intervention and follow-up measures. The intervention group received two FV newsletter packs over a 1 month period by postal mail. Social cognitive and behavioural choice theories provide the theoretical framework for the design and development of intervention materials. Control families were provided with all intervention materials at the end of the study. Adolescent FV consumption was assessed by an FFQ. Adolescent-reported barriers to eating FV, FV habits and preferences were the secondary outcomes, along with parent FV consumption, and parents reported knowledge, encouragement, home availability and accessibility of FV. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to detect differences in behavioural and psychosocial outcomes between groups, time and group-by-time.
East Midlands, UK.
Forty-nine parents and adolescents aged 12–14 years.
Process evaluation indicated high reach, dose acceptability and fidelity of the intervention. At post-intervention and 6 weeks later at follow-up, adolescents in the intervention group had significantly higher fruit: (P < 0·01) and vegetable (P < 0·05) consumption and higher preferences for vegetables (P < 0·01), compared with the control group. At post-intervention and follow-up, parents in the intervention group had significantly higher fruit (P < 0·001) and vegetable (P < 0·01) consumption and reported higher accessibility of fruit and vegetables (P < 0·001), compared with those in the control group.
Family-based, newsletter interventions promoting FV consumption to adolescents appear to be feasible and effective at increasing FV consumption.
To examine associations between parenting styles, family structure and aspects of adolescent dietary behaviour.
Secondary schools in the East Midlands, UK.
Adolescents aged 12–16 years (n 328, 57 % boys) completed an FFQ assessing their consumption of fruit, vegetables, unhealthy snacks and breakfast. Adolescents provided information on parental and sibling status and completed a seventeen-item instrument measuring the general parenting style dimensions of involvement and strictness, from which four styles were derived: indulgent, neglectful, authoritarian, authoritative.
After controlling for adolescent gender and age, analysis of covariance revealed no significant interactions between parenting style and family structure variables for any of the dietary behaviours assessed. Significant main effects for family structure were observed only for breakfast consumption, with adolescents from dual-parent families (P < 0·01) and those with no brothers (P < 0·05) eating breakfast on more days per week than those from single-parent families and those with one or more brother, respectively. Significant main effects for parenting style were observed for all dietary behaviours apart from vegetable consumption. Adolescents who described their parents as authoritative ate more fruit per day, fewer unhealthy snacks per day, and ate breakfast on more days per week than those who described their parents as neglectful.
The positive associations between authoritative parenting style and adolescent dietary behaviour transcend family structure. Future research should be food-specific and assess the efficacy of strategies promoting the central attributes of an authoritative parenting style on the dietary behaviours of adolescents from a variety of family structures.
To review associations between the family environment and young people’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
A systematic review. Published English-language (n 60) papers were identified using electronic databases and manual searches of personal files and reference lists. Observational research reporting a measure of fruit/vegetable intake for children (aged 6–11 years) and/or adolescents (aged 12–18 years) and at least one potential family correlate of dietary intake was included.
Parental modelling and parental intake were consistently and positively associated with children’s fruit and fruit, juice and vegetable (FJV) consumption. There were also positive associations between home availability, family rules and parental encouragement and children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Parental intake was positively associated with adolescents’ fruit and vegetable consumption. There were also positive associations between parental occupational status and adolescent fruit consumption and between parental education and adolescents’ FJV consumption.
Our findings highlight the importance of targeting the family environment for the promotion of healthy eating behaviours among children and adolescents. Future interventions should encourage parents to be positive role models by targeting parental intake and to create a supportive home environment through increased encouragement and availability of fruits and vegetables and employing rules to govern eating behaviours. For adolescents, indicators of family circumstances (e.g. parental education) should be used to identify target groups for interventions aimed at promoting healthy eating.
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