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The objective was to examine the association between parenting practices, toddler’s dietary intake and BMI. In addition, potential moderation of these associations by general parenting and child temperament was examined.
The current cross-sectional study assessed parenting practices using the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire, general parenting using the Comprehensive General Parenting Questionnaire, child temperament using the Child Behavior Check List, and children’s dietary intake through parental questionnaires. Children’s weight and length were objectively measured to determine BMI z-scores. Associations were examined using multiple linear regression analyses. Moderation was examined using interaction terms.
393 Dutch toddlers (age 1–3 years) and their parents recruited through fifty childcare centres and preschools in the Netherlands.
Various practices were related to children’s diet and BMI. For instance, the availability of healthy foods is the most important predictor of healthy dietary intake (e.g. β = –0·35 for sweets; β = 0·18 for fruit). The association of availability with a healthier diet was strongest when parents scored low on the positive parenting style dimensions, including nurturance, structure and/or behavioural control. In addition, it seemed that a high availability of healthy foods and low availability of unhealthy foods is especially beneficial for children showing withdrawal/depressive, anxious or overactive behaviour, while encouraging balance and variety is not beneficial for these children. All other practices were related to children’s diet and/or BMI as well.
The findings underline the importance of viewing the impact of parenting practices in the context of general parenting and child temperament.
To develop and validate a questionnaire to measure food-related and activity-related practices of child-care staff, based on existing, validated parenting practices questionnaires.
A selection of items from the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire (CFPQ) and the Preschooler Physical Activity Parenting Practices (PPAPP) questionnaire was made to include items most suitable for the child-care setting. The converted questionnaire was pre-tested among child-care staff during cognitive interviews and pilot-tested among a larger sample of child-care staff. Factor analyses with Varimax rotation and internal consistencies were used to examine the scales. Spearman correlations, t tests and ANOVA were used to examine associations between the scales and staff’s background characteristics (e.g. years of experience, gender).
Child-care centres in the Netherlands.
The qualitative pre-test included ten child-care staff members. The quantitative pilot test included 178 child-care staff members.
The new questionnaire, the Child-care Food and Activity Practices Questionnaire (CFAPQ), consists of sixty-three items (forty food-related and twenty-three activity-related items), divided over twelve scales (seven food-related and five activity-related scales). The CFAPQ scales are to a large extent similar to the original CFPQ and PPAPP scales. The CFAPQ scales show sufficient internal consistency with Cronbach’s α ranging between 0·53 and 0·96, and average corrected item–total correlations within acceptable ranges (0·30–0·89). Several of the scales were significantly associated with child-care staff’s background characteristics.
Scale psychometrics of the CFAPQ indicate it is a valid questionnaire that assesses child-care staff’s practices related to both food and activities.
The current study examined clustering of dietary intake and activity behaviours (i.e. physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour) in 5-year-old children, as well as the longitudinal association with BMI and overweight development.
Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify behavioural patterns. Backward regression analyses were used to examine the association of behavioural patterns with parent and child background characteristics, as well as the association of the patterns with BMI Z-score and overweight development up to ages 7 and 8 years.
Data originated from the KOALA Birth Cohort Study (n 2074 at age 5 years).
Four patterns emerged: a ‘sedentary-snacking’ pattern (including television viewing and snack consumption), a ‘healthy intake’ pattern (including healthy items such as fruit, vegetables and fish), a ‘sandwich’ pattern (including bread and sandwich fillings) and a ‘sporty-traditional meal’ pattern (including sports, meat and potatoes). The patterns were related to child gender, general appetite and various parental characteristics. The sedentary-snacking pattern was positively associated with longitudinal BMI development.
Cross-behavioural energy balance-related behavioural patterns exist at age 5 years. Different activity types (e.g. sports, television viewing) clustered differently with the behavioural patterns, indicating the need to incorporate these different types instead of one general PA measure in energy balance-related pattern analyses. The clustering and potential synergy between activity behaviours and dietary intake, as well as the associations with weight status development, stress the importance of an integrated approach to PA and healthy nutrition promotion in preventing childhood overweight.
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