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Parental messages and the nutrition awareness of preschool...

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Parental messages and the nutrition awareness of preschool children.

Abstract: Questionnaires were developed to assess the early nutrition-related knowledge and attitudes of preschool children and the types of messages that their parents give to them about nutrition. Subjects were 104 children, aged 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 years, and their mothers, enrolled in the longitudinal Western Massachusetts Growth Study. The children showed significant levels of nutrition knowledge in the areas of food groups, food transformations, food origins, and energy balance. They also demonstrated some ability to judge relative food values: more children selected foods of higher, rather than lower, nutrient density in a role-play situation, as being the foods which would help a doll "grow big and strong." Parental messages about foods and nutrition, derived from open-ended questions asked of the mothers, were categorized into the following groups: passive and non-verbal, example, discouragement or encouragement, general nutrition, specific nutrition, physical, bribes and rewards, and authoritarian messages. The quantity and specificity of nutrition-related messages given by parents and about foods were significantly and positively correlated to the children's nutrition knowledge scores. This study documents a significant level of nutrition awareness among young children, and highlights the importance of early parent-children, and highlights the importance of early parent-child communication patterns in the development of this nutrition awareness.

Journal Title: Journal of nutrition education.
Journal Volume/Issue: Feb 1990. v. 22 (1)
Main Author: Anliker, J.A.
Other Authors: Laus, M.J., Samonds, K.W., Beal, V.A.
Format: Article
Language: English
Subjects: nutrition knowledge
nutrition education
parental role
eating habits
food beliefs
food choices
preschool children
parents
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