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Parent and School-Age Children's Food Preparation Cognitions and Behaviors Guide Recommendations for Future Interventions

Olfert, Melissa D., Hagedorn, Rebecca L., Leary, Miriam P., Eck, Kaitlyn, Shelnutt, Karla P., Byrd-Bredbenner, Carol
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.6 pp. 684-692
attitudes and opinions, cognition, cooking, food and nutrition programs, nutritional adequacy, nutritional intervention, parents, school children, self-esteem, snacks, Florida, West Virginia
To investigate parent and child food preparation cognitions and behaviors qualitatively to create recommendations for nutrition programs targeting these audiences.Focus groups were conducted in community settings with school-age children (n = 37) and parents (n = 38) in Florida, West Virginia, and New Jersey.Community settings in Florida, West Virginia, and New Jersey.School-age children (n = 37) and parents (n = 38).Factors influencing food preparation of school-aged children and their parents to inform Social Cognitive Theory-based recommendations.Content analysis.Parents believed that child involvement in meal preparation was important for developing cooking skills, responsibility, and self-esteem, but noted that involvement was limited by time scarcity and concern regarding child safety in the kitchen. Parents recommended having children engage in age-appropriate food preparation activities, such as packing their own snacks. Children echoed parents’ beliefs, stating they would need to know how to cook later in life. Many children acknowledged being a part of meal preparation by setting the table and helping grocery shop. Food preparation's link to improving diet quality was not mentioned by parents or children. To increase involvement, children suggested that parents demonstrate skills, select age-appropriate tasks for them, and reward them for helping.This research provides insight into parents’ and children's food preparation cognitions (eg, beliefs, attitudes) and behaviors and assembles results into recommendations that may guide decisions during nutrition intervention development and potentially improve nutrition intervention.