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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Maternal educational level and children's healthy eating behaviour: role of the home food environment (cross-sectional results from the INPACT study)

Wilke Jc van Ansem, Carola Tm Schrijvers, Gerda Rodenburg, Dike van de Mheen
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2014 September 12, 11: 113
25212228

BACKGROUND: The aims of this study are 1) to investigate the association between maternal educational level and healthy eating behaviour of 11-year-old children (fruit, vegetables and breakfast consumption), and 2) to examine whether factors in the home food environment (parental intake of fruit, vegetables and breakfast; rules about fruit and vegetables and home availability of fruit and vegetables) mediate these associations.

METHODS: Data were obtained from the Dutch INPACT study. In total, 1318 parent-child dyads were included in this study. Multilevel regression models were used to investigate whether factors of the home food environment mediated the association between maternal educational level and children's healthy eating behaviour.

RESULTS: Children of mothers with a high educational level consumed more pieces of fruit per day (B = 0.13, 95% CI: 0.04-0.22), more grams of vegetables per day (B = 23.81, 95% CI = 14.93-32.69) and were more likely to have breakfast on a daily basis (OR = 2.97, 95% CI: 1.38-6.39) than children of mothers with a low educational level. Home availability, food consumption rules and parental consumption mediated the association between maternal education level and children's fruit and vegetable consumption. Parental breakfast consumption mediated the association between maternal education level and children's breakfast consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Factors in the home food environment play an important role in the explanation of socio-economic disparities in children's healthy eating behaviour and may be promising targets for interventions.

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