Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342341

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parents' qualitative perspectives on child asking for fruit and vegetables

Author
item Beltran, Alicia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item O'connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Hughes, Sheryl - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Baranowski, Janice - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Nicklas, Theresa - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Baranowski, Tom - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2017
Publication Date: 6/5/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5700699
Citation: Beltran, A., O'Connor, T.M., Hughes, S.O., Thompson, D.J., Baranowski, J., Nicklas, T.A., Baranowski, T. 2017. Parents' qualitative perspectives on child asking for fruit and vegetables. Nutrients. 9:575.

Interpretive Summary: Children with more fruit and vegetables (FV) available in their home tend to eat more FV. Children can initiate the process of increasing FV availability at home by asking their parents to have more. It is not clear how receptive parents are to having their child ask, nor how parents who differ in their relationship to the child (i.e. parenting style) may respond. Parents of 10 to 14 year old children completed an online survey of parenting style and then were contacted by phone to conduct an interview about their receptiveness to asking. Thematic analysis was used to analyze responses with categories of parenting style (i.e. authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved/neglectful). No differences were found by parenting style or ethnic group. Parents reported their children had a voice in what foods were purchased and available at home and were receptive to their child's asking for FV. The most important child asking characteristic was politeness, especially among authoritarian parents. Other important factors were asking in person, helping in the grocery store, writing requests on the grocery shopping list and showing information they saw in the media. The barrier raising the most concern was FV cost, but FV quality and safety outside the home environment were also considerations.

Technical Abstract: Children can influence the foods available at home, but some ways of approaching a parent may be better than others; and the best way may vary by type of parent. This study explored how parents with different parenting styles would best receive their 10 to 14 year old child asking for fruit and vegetables (FV). An online parenting style questionnaire was completed and follow-up qualitative telephone interviews assessed home food rules, child influence on home food availability, parents' preferences for being asked for food, and common barriers and reactions to their child's FV requests. Parents (n=73) with a 10 to 14 year old child were grouped into authoritative, authoritarian, permissive or uninvolved parenting style categories based on responses to questionnaires, and interviewed. Almost no differences in responses were detected by parenting style or ethnicity. Parents reported their children had a voice in what foods were purchased and available at home and were receptive to their child's asking for FV. The most important child asking characteristic was politeness, especially among authoritarian parents. Other important factors were asking in person, helping in the grocery store, writing requests on the grocery shopping list and showing information they saw in the media. The barrier raising the most concern was FV cost, but FV quality and safety outside the home environment were also considerations.