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Little is known about the diet quality of preschool children in Canada. We adapted an established diet quality index for European preschool children to align with the Canadian context and applied the index to dietary data of 3-year-old children to assess patterns of diet quality.
Our diet quality index (DQI-C) consists of four components that align with Canada’s Food Guide (Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives) and two components that account for less healthy intakes (Candy/Snacks, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB)). The ratio between consumption v. recommended intakes is calculated for each component and summed to give a total score from 0 to 6.
The DQI-C was applied to FFQ data from 1260 3-year-old children.
Mean DQI-C was 3·69 (sd 0·6). Most children met recommendations for Vegetables and Fruit (73 %) and Meat and Alternatives (70 %); however, fewer met recommendations for Milk and Alternatives (38 %) and Grain Products (13 %). Children in the lowest quartile for DQI-C score consumed a mean of 82 g of Candy/Snacks and 193 g of SSB daily, whereas those in the highest quartile consumed 45 g/d and 17 g/d of Candy and Snacks and SSB, respectively.
This DQI-C score is useful for ranking Canadian preschool children according to their overall diet quality. There is room for improvement for consumptions of Grain Products, Meat and Alternatives, Candy/Snacks and SSB, which could be a target for initiatives to improve diet quality of preschool children in Canada.
To test the hypothesis that maternal psychological profiles relate to children’s quality of diet.
Cross-sectional study. Mothers provided information on their health-related psychological factors and aspects of their child’s mealtime environment. Children’s diet quality was assessed using an FFQ from which weekly intakes of foods and a diet Z-score were calculated. A high score described children with a better quality diet. Cluster analysis was performed to assess grouping of mothers based on psychological factors. Mealtime characteristics, describing how often children ate while sitting at a table or in front of the television, their frequency of takeaway food consumption, maternal covert control and food security, and children’s quality of diet were examined, according to mothers’ cluster membership.
Mother–child pairs (n 324) in the Southampton Initiative for Health. Children were aged 2–5 years.
Two main clusters were identified. Mothers in cluster 1 had significantly higher scores for all psychological factors than mothers in cluster 2 (all P<0·001). Clusters were termed ‘more resilient’ and ‘less resilient’, respectively. Children of mothers in the less resilient cluster ate meals sitting at a table less often (P=0·03) and watched more television (P=0·01). These children had significantly poorer-quality diets (β=−0·61, 95 % CI −0·82, −0·40, P≤0·001). This association was attenuated, but remained significant after controlling for confounding factors that included maternal education and home/mealtime characteristics (P=0·006).
The study suggests that mothers should be offered psychological support as part of interventions to improve children’s quality of diet.
To evaluate the use of an administered eighty-item FFQ to assess nutrient intake and diet quality in 3-year-old children.
Frequency of consumption and portion size of the foods listed on the FFQ during the 3 months preceding the interview were reported by the child's main caregiver; after the interview a 2 d prospective food diary (FD) was completed on behalf of the child. Nutrient intakes from the FFQ and FD were estimated using UK food composition data. Diet quality was assessed from the FFQ and FD according to the child's scores for a principal component analysis-defined dietary pattern (‘prudent’ pattern), characterised by high consumption of fruit, vegetables, water and wholemeal cereals.
Children (n 892) aged 3 years in the Southampton Women's Survey.
Intakes of all nutrients assessed by the FFQ were higher than FD estimates, but there was reasonable agreement in terms of ranking of children (range of Spearman rank correlations for energy-adjusted nutrient intakes, rs = 0·41 to 0·59). Prudent diet scores estimated from the FFQ and FD were highly correlated (r = 0·72). Some family and child characteristics appeared to influence the ability of the FFQ to rank children, most notably the number of child's meals eaten away from home.
The FFQ provides useful information to allow ranking of children at this age with respect to nutrient intake and quality of diet, but may overestimate absolute intakes. Dietary studies of young children need to consider family and child characteristics that may impact on reporting error associated with an FFQ.
(i) To assess change in confidence in having conversations that support parents with healthy eating and physical activity post-training. (ii) To assess change in staff competence in using ‘open discovery’ questions (those generally beginning with ‘how’ and ‘what’ that help individuals reflect and identify barriers and solutions) post-training. (iii) To examine the relationship between confidence and competence post-training.
A pre–post evaluation of ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’, a staff training intervention.
Sure Start Children's Centres in Southampton, England.
A total of 145 staff working in Sure Start Children's Centres completed the training, including play workers (43 %) and community development or family support workers (35 %).
We observed an increase in median confidence rating for having conversations about healthy eating and physical activity (both P < 0·001), and in using ‘open discovery’ questions (P < 0·001), after staff attended the ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ training. We also found a positive relationship between the use of ‘open discovery’ questions and confidence in having conversations about healthy eating post-training (r = 0·21, P = 0·01), but a non-significant trend was observed for having conversations about physical activity (r = 0·15, P = 0·06).
The ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ training proved effective at increasing the confidence of staff working at Sure Start Children's Centres to have more productive conversations with parents about healthy eating. Wider implementation of these skills may be a useful public health nutrition capacity building strategy to help community workers support families with young children to eat more healthy foods.
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