Parental eating behaviours, home food environment and adolescent intakes of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods: longitudinal findings from Project EAT

Chrisa Arcan, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Peter Hannan, Patricia van den Berg, Mary Story, Nicole Larson
Public Health Nutrition 2007, 10 (11): 1257-65

OBJECTIVE: To examine longitudinal associations of parental report of household food availability and parent intakes of fruits, vegetables and dairy foods with adolescent intakes of the same foods. This study expands upon the limited research of longitudinal studies examining the role of parents and household food availability in adolescent dietary intakes.

DESIGN: Longitudinal study. Project EAT-II followed an ethnically and socio-economically diverse sample of adolescents from 1999 (time 1) to 2004 (time 2). In addition to the Project EAT survey, adolescents completed the Youth Adolescent Food-Frequency Questionnaire in both time periods, and parents of adolescents completed a telephone survey at time 1. General linear modelling was used to examine the relationship between parent intake and home availability and adolescent intake, adjusting for time 1 adolescent intakes. Associations were examined separately for the high school and young adult cohorts and separately for males and females in combined cohorts.

SUBJECTS/SETTING: The sample included 509 pairs of parents/guardians and adolescents.

RESULTS: Vegetables served at dinner significantly predicted adolescent intakes of vegetables for males (P = 0.037), females (P = 0.009), high school (P = 0.033) and young adults (P = 0.05) at 5-year follow-up. Among young adults, serving milk at dinner predicted dairy intake (P = 0.002). Time 1 parental intakes significantly predicted intakes of young adults for fruit (P = 0.044), vegetables (P = 0.041) and dairy foods (P = 0.008). Parental intake predicted intake of dairy for females (P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest the importance of providing parents of adolescents with knowledge and skills to enhance the home food environment and improve their own eating behaviours.

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