Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Health professionals' and dietetics practitioners' perceived effectiveness of fruit and vegetable parenting practices across six countries

Authors
item O'Connor, Teresia -
item Watson, Kathy -
item Hughes, Sheryl -
item Beltran, Alicia -
item Hingle, Melanie -
item Baranowski, Janice -
item Campbell, Karen -
item Canal, Dolors -
item Lizaur, Ana Bertha -
item Zacarias, Isabel -
item Gonzalez, Daniela -
item Nicklas, Theresa -
item Baranowski, Tom -

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 2009
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Citation: O'Connor, T., Watson, K., Hughes, S., Beltran, A., Hingle, M., Baranowski, J., Campbell, K., Canal, D.J., Lizaur, A.P., Zacarias, I., Gonzalez, D., Nicklas, T., Baranowski, T. 2010. Health professionals' and dietetics practitioners' perceived effectiveness of fruit and vegetable parenting practices across six countries. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 110(7):1065-1071.

Interpretive Summary: Young children often do not eat the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. We surveyed health and nutrition professionals from 6 countries who work with families of children and therefore have a unique perspective, to find out which parenting strategies they believe are most effective in getting preschool children to eat fruit and vegetables. Eight hundred and eighty nine professionals participated and reported that strategies that pressure or punish (externally controlling parenting practices) children into eating fruit and vegetables were not felt to be effective, while strategies that helped increase the availability and role modeled eating fruit and vegetables (structure), talked about the benefits of fruit and vegetables (responsiveness), or allowed child participation in selection and preparation (non-directive control) were effective in getting young children to eat fruit and vegetables. These findings should be verified among parents and preschool children, and if found to hold true, can help inform interventions intended to promote fruit and vegetables consumption among young children.

Technical Abstract: Fruit and vegetable intake may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. However, many children consume less-than-recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. Because health professionals and dietetics practitioners often work with parents to increase children’s fruit and vegetable intake, assessing their opinions about the effectiveness of parenting practices is an important step in understanding how to promote fruit and vegetable intake among preschool-aged children. Using a cross-sectional design, collaborators from 6 countries distributed an internet survey to health and nutrition organization members. A self-selected sample reported their perceptions of the effectiveness of 39 parenting practices, intended to promote fruit and vegetable consumption in preschool-aged children from May 18, 2008, to September 16, 2008. A total of 889 participants (55% United States, 22.6% Mexico, 10.9% Australia, 4.4% Spain, 3.3% Chile, 2.2% United Kingdom, and 1.6% other countries) completed the survey. The fruit and vegetable intake–related parenting practices items were categorized into three dimensions (structure, responsiveness, and control), based on a parenting theory conceptual framework, and dichotomized as effective/ineffective based on professional perceptions. The theoretically derived factor, structures for effective and ineffective parenting practices were evaluated using separate confirmatory factor analyses and demonstrated acceptable fit. Fruit and vegetable intake–related parenting practices that provide external control were perceived as ineffective or counterproductive, whereas fruit and vegetable intake–related parenting practices that provided structure, nondirective control, and were responsive were perceived as effective in getting preschool-aged children to consume fruit and vegetables. Future research needs to develop and validate a parent reported measure of these fruit and vegetable intake–related parenting practices and to empirically evaluate the effect of parental use of the parenting practices on child fruit and vegetable consumption.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014