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Title: Exploring the association between household food insecurity, parental self-efficacy, and fruit and vegetable parenting practices among parents of 5- to 8-year-old overweight children

Author
item Hilmers, Angela - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Cullen, Karen - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Moore, Carolyn - Texas Woman'S University
item O'connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2012
Publication Date: 2/24/2012
Citation: Hilmers, A., Cullen, K.W., Moore, C., O'Connor, T. 2012. Exploring the association between household food insecurity, parental self-efficacy, and fruit and vegetable parenting practices among parents of 5- to 8-year-old overweight children. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk. 3(1):article 5.

Interpretive Summary: Food insecurity may reduce children's nutritional status by affecting their parents. This study explored whether food insecurity was related to parental confidence and parenting practices for fruit and vegetable consumption. Thirty-one mothers of 5- to 8- year old overweight or obese children reported household food security status, fruit and vegetable parental confidence and fruit and vegetable parenting practices. Food insecurity was not related to fruit and vegetable parenting practices and parental confidence. However, in this small sample, there was a trend towards lower parental confidence for making fruit and vegetables available in the home among food insecure parents. Additional studies are needed with larger sample sizes to detect trends and other differences.

Technical Abstract: Food insecurity may negatively impact children’s nutritional status by affecting parenting quality. Because parents have a strong influence on their children’s eating and food choices, examining the effects of food insecurity on parenting may provide important insights into obesity prevention efforts. The objective of the study is to explore whether food insecurity was associated with parental self-efficacy and parenting practices related to fruit and vegetable consumption. Secondary analysis was performed using baseline data from 31 mothers of 5- to 8- year old overweight or obese children who had participated in a pilot obesity treatment program. Household food security status, fruit and vegetable parental self-efficacy (modeling/socialization, planning/encouraging and availability/accessibility) and fruit and vegetable parenting practices (structure, responsiveness, non-directive control, and external control) were assessed using validated measures. Students' t-test investigated differences in subscales by food security status. The results showed that there were no significant differences in fruit and vegetable parenting practices and parental self-efficacy between food secure and insecure groups. There was a trend towards a decrease in parental self-efficacy for making fruit and vegetables available in the home among food insecure parents (p=.06). In this small sample no significant associations were found between food insecurity and fruit and vegetable parenting practices and parental self-efficacy. However, the trend observed in this exploratory analysis supports further hypothesis-driven research with a larger sample size able to detect more subtle differences.