Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Parents play a critical role in their children's diets, yet there is lack of research in the US quantitatively examining parental assessment of their child's diet. We examined the association between parent assessment of their child’s overall diet and the child’s diet quality, as measured by frequency of consumption of key food groups.
We conducted secondary analysis using data from two cross-sectional surveys of households’ w/ parent and a random chosen child (2009-2010 and 2014) conducted in four low-income New Jersey cities. Well-established survey questions assessed parental perception of their child’s diet and frequency of consumption of fruits (F), vegetables (V), sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and unhealthy snacks. Diet quality scores were calculated for each child, with higher scores reflective of healthier diets (max score= 40). We examined concordance using parental assessment and quartiles of diet quality scores. The analytical sample included 2274 children.
Mean age for children was 10 years, almost half (48%) were non-Hispanic black and 40% were Hispanic. Overall, 52% of parents strongly agreed, 33% somewhat agreed, 10% somewhat disagreed, and 4% strongly disagreed that their child eats a healthy diet. The mean diet quality score for the sample was 22.9 ± 7.2. Among children in the lowest diet quality quartile, mean frequency of consumption for F&V was 2.2 times/day and for SSB was 2 times/day. Among children in the highest diet quality quartile, mean frequency of consumption for F&V was 4 times/day and for SSB was 0.3 times/day. More than 40% of the children with parents who strongly agreed that their child ate healthy were scored in the lower two diet quality quartiles. Almost 77-90% of the children with parents who somewhat or strongly disagreed that their child ate healthy were scored in the lower two diet quality quartiles. Additional results from multivariate analysis and by child and household characteristics including nutrition program participation will be presented.
Interventions aimed at improving children’s diet can benefit from taking parental perception into consideration.
Funding Sources :
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development.