Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Judi Brooks, PhD, RD, Chair
Alice Jo Rainville, PhD, RD, CHE, SNS
Background: Obesity in the United States has become a major health issue, affecting not only adults, but children as well. The increase among preschool children is of major concern, with 2 out of 10 children in 2008 being overweight or obese. It is important to start obesity prevention at a young age in order to avoid the development of obesity and its detrimental health conditions. Children begin to develop eating habits at a young age, and the home eating environment may have an influence on the development of eating habits.
Purpose: To assess the influence of both a positive and negative home eating environment on preschoolers’ intake of fruits and vegetables and snack foods.
Setting: A cooperative preschool in metropolitan Seattle, WA.
Subjects: Families with children aged 12 months to 5 years (n= 163) were contacted and asked to participate. One hundred and forty-two surveys were distributed and 75 responses were obtained.
Research Design: Quantitative study.
Data Collection and Analysis: A survey with questions based on a Likert scale was designed specifically for this study. A score for fruit and vegetable intake (FV), snack foods intake (SF), positive home environment (HE), and negative home environment was calculated for each individual. Pearson’s product-moment correlations, individual samples t-test analyses, ANOVA, and frequencies of behaviors were calculated.
Findings: A Pearson product-moment correlation revealed significant and non-significant correlations. There was a negative correlation, but not significant, between HE score and FV intake [r = -.199, n =69, p = .102], where the more negative HE factors that were present in the household, the fewer FV were consumed. There was a positive correlation, but not significant, v between HE score and SF intake [r = .191, n =70, p = .113]. There was a statistically significant correlation (p≤.01) between FV availability and FV intake [r = .323, n =75, p = .005]. There was a statistically significant correlation (p≤.05) between the SF availability and SF intake [r = .246, n =73, p = .036]. There was a statistically significant correlation (p≤.01) between SF intake and FV intake [r=.333, n=73, p=.004]. An independent-samples t-test revealed a significant difference (p≤.01) in scores of FV availability for positive HE (M=0.54±0.08) versus negative HE (M=0.45±0.09); t(69)=3.99, p≤.00. These results suggest that there is more FV availability in positive HE.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the home eating environment does have an influence on the dietary intake of FV and SF of preschoolers, where a positive HE correlates with higher availability of FV and increased intake by preschoolers, and a negative HE correlates with a higher availability of SF and increased intake of these foods by preschoolers.
Macintyre, Jessica M., "Influence of the home environment on preschoolers’ dietary intake in middle class families enrolled in a preschool program in metropolitan Seattle" (2012). Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 428.