Does parental feeding style moderate the relationship between children’s taste preferences for fruit and vegetables and consumption in preschoolers?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Hamm (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lenka Shriver

Abstract: Introduction: Fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption is linked to a number of positive health outcomes, with taste preferences representing one of the key predictors of FV intake across age groups. Thus, it is important to establish diets rich in FV early in life when children’s eating habits begin to form. The authoritative feeding style has been proposed as most favorable to nutrition-related outcomes in current nutrition research. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the authoritative feeding style moderates the relationship between children’s FV taste preferences and consumption of FV among low-income preschool-aged children. Methods: Parental feeding style was measured by the Caregiver’s Feeding Style Questionnaire. FV intakes and likings were measured by a validated food frequency questionnaire/taste preference measure. Associations between FV taste preferences, FV intake (frequency in past 7 days), the authoritative feeding style, and potential covariates were examined using bivariate correlations. Hierarchical multiple regression models for F and V were used to test the interactions between the authoritative feeding style and taste preferences on children’s FV frequency intakes, controlling for race/ethnicity, education, marital status, parental FV taste preferences, and FV household availability. Results: A total of 281 eligible parent-child dyads completed the study (38% African American, 35% Hispanic White, and 27% Non-Hispanic White). Approximately 16% of parents were categorized as authoritative, 35% as indulgent, 26% authoritarian, and 20% uninvolved. Both regression models were significant, explaining 29% of the variance in child F frequency intake (F(8,256) = 12.5; p < .001) and 28% in child V frequency intake (F(8,246) = 11.5; p < .001). No significant interaction effects were observed between the authoritative feeding style and child taste preferences when explaining their F or V frequency intakes. After the covariates were entered into the model, child taste preferences for F had a significant main effect on F intake (B = 3.83; p < 0.01), explaining additional 2% of the total variance (R2 change = .024; p <.01). Household availability of F also had a main effect on F intake (B = 1.43; p < 0.001). In the vegetable model, child taste preferences had the largest significant main effect on V intake (ß = 4.67; p < 0.001), adding 7% of unique variance (R2 change = .07; p < 0.001). Household availability of V also had a significant effect on child V frequency intake (B = 0.97; p < 0.001). Conclusion: The authoritative parental feeding style did not moderate the relationship between child taste preferences and child intake of either F or V. However, our findings highlight the role of FV taste preferences and household availability on FV intakes among low-income preschool-aged children. Although efforts have focused on increasing availability of FV in low-income populations, further research is warranted to better understand development and predictors of FV taste preferences in early childhood.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Consumption, Feeding Style, Fruit and Vegetable, Parent, Preschool, Taste Preferences
Children $x Nutrition $x Psychological aspects
Parent and child

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