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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parental involvement in interventions to improve child diet and prevent disease

item Hingle, Melanie
item Baranowski, Tom
item Hughes, Sheryl
item O'connor, Teresia

Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2009
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Citation: Hingle, M., Baranowski, T., Hughes, S., O'Connor, T. 2009. Parental involvement in interventions to improve child diet and prevent disease [abstract]. In: The International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Abstract Book, June 17-20, 2009, Lisbon, Portugal. p. 112.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Parents influence children's dietary intake in part through general parenting styles, feeding styles, and/or food parenting practices. Interventions aimed at improving child diet often include parent components. A systematic review was conducted to assess the effect of targeting parenting styles and food parenting practices on child diet and risk of disease. A literature search was conducted to identify dietary intervention studies (published between 1980-2008) whose primary or secondary aim was to improve child diet quality and/or prevent disease, and included a parent component. Some 985 articles were identified, 44 of which met review criteria. The quality of reporting, intervention approaches, and outcome measurement methods varied enormously. Both passive and active strategies were used to engage parents, with the majority (N=20) using passive (e.g. newsletter or mailing) or a combination of passive and active (N=10) strategies. Five studies included a parent component that specifically targeted food parenting practices and all reported positive child outcomes yet lacked a "no-parent" comparison group, which prevented evaluation of a parent effect. In general, the heterogeneity of child dietary intervention studies prevents systematic conclusions regarding the added benefit of parental involvement. While the majority of interventions appeared to affect diet positively, the varied intervention approaches, lack of uniform results reporting, and absence of no-parent comparison, did not allow assessment of efficacy of parental engagement. Predictive models of parental involvement in dietary interventions are needed to identify parent mediators of child diet that positively influence children's nutrition and are amendable to change.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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