Investigating the role of parent and child characteristics in healthy eating intervention outcomes
While numerous studies have investigated the efficacy of interventions at increasing children’s vegetable consumption, little research has examined the effect of individual characteristics on intervention outcomes. In previous research, interventions consisting of modelling and rewards have been shown to increase children’s vegetable intake, but differences were identified in terms of how much children respond to such interventions. With this in mind, the current study investigated the role of parental feeding practices, child temperament, and child eating behaviours as predictors of intervention success. Parents (N=90) of children aged 2-4 years were recruited from toddler groups across Leicestershire, UK. Parents completed measures of feeding practices, child eating behaviours and child temperament, before participating in one of four conditions of a home-based, parent led 14 day intervention aimed at increasing their child’s consumption of a disliked vegetable. Correlations and logistic regressions were performed to investigate the role of these factors in predicting intervention success. Parental feeding practices were not significantly associated with intervention success. However, child sociability and food fussiness significantly predicted intervention success, producing a regression model which could predict intervention success in 61% of cases. These findings suggest that future interventions could benefit from being tailored according to child temperament. Furthermore, interventions for children high in food fussiness may be better targeted at reducing fussiness in addition to increasing vegetable consumption.
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- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences