Child influence on dietary behaviors in low-income families

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amber Haroldson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lauren Haldeman

Abstract: Literature suggests that in certain populations, such as Hispanic families, children may have strong influence on dietary behaviors for the entire family. Additionally, a family environment where parents are more often compliant to their child's requests for less nutritious foods may be related to increased obesity prevalence rates (Flegal, Ogden, & Carroll, 2004). The purposes of this project were to examine child influence on dietary behaviors in low-income families, assess how child influence may differ between Hispanic and non-Hispanic families, and investigate the association between child influence and child overweight and obesity. A cross-sectional community-based design was utilized. Data collection methods included surveys, at-home interviews, and grocery store observations. It was first established that the majority of parents found their early adolescent child to have a substantial influence on family dietary and physical activity behaviors. Investigating this idea more in depth, it was found that children tended to request of their mothers to purchase or provide foods that were lower in nutritional content, but mothers tended to be more compliant when these requests involved foods with higher nutritional content. The number of child food requests was important as a statistically significant positive association between child food requests and maternal compliance was found. Maternal compliance, however, was found to have a significant association with child BMI. Although statistically significant differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic participants were not identified, areas worthy of further research were identified. These results can be used in future development of nutrition interventions targeted to low-income families.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Children, Family, Influence, Nutrition
Parent and child $x Psychological aspects
Poor $x Nutrition $z North Carolina
Diet $x Social aspects $z North Carolina

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