179027 Beyond knowledge in nutrition education

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 8:30 AM

Nell H. Gottlieb, PhD , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Jennifer Greenberg Seth, ScM , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Karol K. Harris, PhD , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Alexandra Evans, PhD , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Carol Spaulding, MS , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Jennifer J. Loyo, MEd , Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Background: Nutrition education programs often focus on transferring nutrition information to participants with the goal of motivating them to make dietary changes. Objective: This study examined the associations between parental nutrition knowledge and preschooler dietary intake. The study also explored the relative importance of nutrition information in parental decision-making when shopping for and preparing food for young children. Methods: A sample of 721 Texas households with at least one child between the ages of 1 and 5 years completed a 30-minute telephone interview assessing child's usual food intake, as well as knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to child feeding. The sample included WIC households, low-income non-WIC households, and higher-income households. Fifty percent of the sample was Hispanic. Results: A multivariate linear regression model indicated that parental nutrition knowledge was not related to children's intake of fruits and vegetables or sweets (=-.018). Parental self-efficacy for buying, preparing and serving fruits and vegetables was the factor most strongly correlated with child fruit and vegetable intake (=.236). Additionally, respondents at all income levels were more significantly more concerned with cost than with nutrition content when shopping for food (p<.05). This difference was strongest for lower-income families than for higher-income families. Child preference was the strongest motivator and nutritional content the weakest for parents when deciding what to feed their children (p<.05). Implications: These results suggest that, instead of focusing on knowledge transmission, nutrition interventions should include a focus on parent self-efficacy, perceived value versus of food and child preference.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify factors associated with increase fruit and vegetable consumption among preschool-aged children. 2) Describe the relative importance of nutrition information in choices parents make about what to feed their children.

Keywords: Nutrition, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on the study and ideas that inform the presentation. My educational background is in Health Education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.