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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Test-retest reliability and comparison of children's reports with parents' reports of young children's fruit and vegetable preferences

item Vereecken, Carine
item Vendervorst, Stephanie
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Covents, Marc
item Maes, Lea

Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2010
Publication Date: 12/5/2010
Citation: Vereecken, C.A., Vendervorst, S., Nicklas, T.A., Covents, M., Maes, L. 2010. Test-retest reliability and comparison of children's reports with parents' reports of young children's fruit and vegetable preferences. Appetite. 55(3):574-581.

Interpretive Summary: An important determinant of children’s food choices is children’s food preferences. To better understand children’s fruit and vegetable references and which factors are related to the development of these likes and dislikes, reliable and valid instruments are necessary. A higher preference for fruit and vegetable was reported by the parents (but not the children) for the third grade children compared with the second grade children. A higher preference score was found in those with the highest consumption according to parents’ and children’s reports for both fruit and vegetable. The good test–retest stability suggests that the measure can be used to investigate the effect of interventions.

Technical Abstract: The aim of this study is to investigate the test-retest reliability of a short computerized assessment of young children's fruit (F) and vegetable (V) preferences, and to compare children's responses with their parents' responses. A paper-and-pencil F and V preference and F and V food frequency questionnaire was completed by 194 parents. Data on 139 preschoolers was available for test and retest of F preferences and data on 135 children for V. F and V preference scales were computed, including the ten most commonly consumed F and the ten most commonly consumed V. Alpha reliabilities were good (F = 0.78; V = 0.76) and test-retest intra-class correlations were high (ICC for F = 0.74; V = 0.75). Agreement between parents' and children's reports was moderate (F: ICC = 0.48, V: ICC = 0.41). Children reported more often to have never consumed an item, and less often the mid-category "not yummy, not yucky but ok". Covariance analysis indicated differences in agreement by school and mothers' education level with a lower agreement for those of lower social status. A weak, but significant association was found between children's reported preferences and children's consumption (F: r = 0.19, V: r = 0.25). The results are promising, but additional validation is needed in a representative sample and should further explore the sources of disagreements.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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