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Parental nutrition knowledge and attitudes as predictors of 5–6-year-old children's healthy food knowledge

Zarnowiecki, Dorota, Sinn, Natalie, Petkov, John, Dollman, James
Public health nutrition 2012 v.15 no.7 pp. 1284-1290
attitudes and opinions, child nutrition, children, eating habits, educational status, elementary schools, equations, healthy diet, models, nutrition knowledge, obesity, parent education, parents, risk, socioeconomic factors, socioeconomic status, Australia
ObjectiveYoung children's knowledge about healthy food may influence the formation of their eating behaviours, and parents have a major influence on the development of children's knowledge in the early years.DesignWe investigated the extent to which parental nutrition knowledge and attitudes around food predicted young children's knowledge of healthy foods, controlling for other influences such as socio-economic status (SES) and parent education levels in a cross-sectional research design. Children were given a healthy food knowledge activity and parents completed questionnaires.SettingTwenty primary schools in Adelaide, Australia, stratified by SES.SubjectsWe recruited 192 children aged 5–6 years and their parents.ResultsStructural equation modelling showed that parent nutrition knowledge predicted children's nutrition knowledge (r = 0·30, P < 0·001) independently of attitudes, SES and education level.ConclusionsNutrition education for parents, targeted at low-SES areas at higher risk for obesity, may contribute to the development of healthy food knowledge in young children.