Reasons low-income parents offer snacks to children: How feeding rationale influences snack frequency and adherence to dietary recommendations
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/5216
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Abstract© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Although American children snack more than ever before, the parental role in promoting snacking is not well understood. In 2012–2013 at baseline in an intervention study to prevent childhood obesity in low-income Massachusetts communities, n = 271 parents of children aged 2–12 years completed surveys regarding nutritive and non-nutritive reasons they offered children snacks, demographics, and dietary factors. An analysis of variance demonstrated that parents reported offering snacks (mean/week; standard deviation (SD)) for nutritive reasons like promoting growth (¯x = 2.5; SD 2.2) or satisfying hunger (¯x = 2.4; SD 2.1) almost twice as often as non-nutritive reasons like keeping a child quiet (¯x = 0.7; SD 1.5) or celebrating events/holidays (¯x = 0.8; SD 1.1). Parents reported giving young children (2–5 years) more snacks to reward behavior (1.9 vs. 1.1, p < 0.001), keep quiet (1.0 vs. 0.5, p < 0.001), and celebrate achievements (1.7 vs. 1.0, p < 0.001) than parents of older children (6–12 years). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to obtain adjusted odds ratios, which indicated reduced child adherence to dietary recommendations when parents offered snacks to reward behavior (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.83; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.70–0.99), celebrate events/holidays (OR = 0.72; 95% CI 0.52–0.99), or achievements (OR = 0.82; 95% CI 0.68–0.98). Parental intentions around child snacking are likely important targets for obesity prevention efforts.
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