Associations between parental report of the home food environment and adolescent intakes of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods

Nicole I Hanson, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Marla E Eisenberg, Mary Story, Melanie Wall
Public Health Nutrition 2005, 8 (1): 77-85

OBJECTIVE: This study examines parental report of household food availability, parent dietary intake and associations with adolescent intakes of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. Adolescents completed the Project EAT survey and the Youth Adolescent Food Frequency Questionnaire at school. Parents of adolescents were interviewed by telephone about the home food environment, eating habits and weight-related behaviours. General linear modelling was used to compare dietary intakes of adolescents across different levels of household food availability and parental intakes.

SUBJECTS/SETTING: The study sample included 902 adolescents and their parent or guardian.

RESULTS: Many parents were not consuming the minimum number of daily recommended fruit (44.5%), vegetable (69.9%) or dairy (46.9%) servings. While most parents reported that fruits and vegetables were available at home (90.3%) and vegetables were usually served at dinner (87.0%), fewer parents reported milk was served at meals (66.6%). Soft drinks were usually available at home (56.8%). Among girls, household availability was positively associated with fruit and vegetable intake (ttrend=2.70, P<0.01) and soft drink availability was inversely associated with dairy intake (ttrend=2.08, P=0.04). Among boys, serving milk at meals was positively associated with dairy intake (ttrend=3.65, P<0.01). Parental intakes were positively associated with dairy intake for boys (ttrend=2.04, P=0.04), and with dairy (ttrend=2.43, P=0.01), vegetable (ttrend=3.72, P<0.01) and fruit (ttrend=3.17, P<0.01) intakes for girls.

CONCLUSIONS/APPLICATIONS: Interventions designed to help adolescents improve consumption of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods may be enhanced by including a parental component aimed at increasing household availability and parents' intake of healthful food choices.

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