The high prevalence of childhood obesity is a major concern in developed and developing countries. An increase in fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake is perceived as one of the numerous strategies to prevent and reduce the risk of adiposity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of personal and social determinants in explaining children's F&V intake. Written questionnaire data were collected from 702 parent-child pairs that included 3rd and 4th graders (aged 7 to 10) and their parents. Children's F&V intake was recorded over three food records. Hierarchical linear regression models were applied to assess the impact of personal and social determinants on children's F&V intake. Regression models focusing on personal and social determinants revealed that the most promising personal determinants pertained to the knowledge of different types of F&V and preferences for F&V. Moreover, an exclusive focus on social determinants indicated that parental modeling and peer influence had significant and positive relationships with children's F&V intake, whereas verbal directives to eat F&V exhibited a significant and negative relationship. In combination, the following four personal and social determinants were demonstrated to be significant: knowledge of different types of F&V, preferences for F&V and parental modeling, all of which had positive relationships, and verbal directives to eat F&V, which had a negative impact. The results identify important associative determinants of children's F&V intake. These are in part personal and in part social and are shown by our analysis to be of equal and perhaps mutual importance. Therefore, we suggest that interventions aimed at improving children's F&V intake should address children's preferences for F&V, impart knowledge concerning the variety of F&V and encourage parents to act as role models.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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