A large proportion of young children spend most of their weekdays at preschool in Western countries. In Finland, three meals are included in a full day at preschool. These meals have the potential to promote healthy eating. This study aimed to obtain the personnel's (preschool teachers, day-care nurses) views on the factors influencing children's fruit, vegetable, and sugar-enriched food intake at preschool.
Four focus groups, in all 14 preschool personnel. Two researchers independently analysed the data using a socio-ecological framework.
At the child level, age, peers, and the child's personality were recognized as factors influencing the fruit and vegetable (FV) and sugar-enriched food intake. At the preschool level, both the physical and social environments were discussed thoroughly, whereas at the societal level, policies of the EU, the state, and the municipality were mentioned as factors that influence what children eat in preschool. The personnel also discussed the interactions between factors both between levels and within levels.
In Finnish preschools, children's food intake is influenced on and within several levels of the socio-ecological model. The identification of the factors influencing food intake allows different methods of intervention at multiple levels to promote healthy eating behaviours in preschools.
This study examined the associations of parental socioeconomic status (SES) with preschoolers' objectively measured sedentary time (SED) over the course of a week and with parent-reported children's screen and reading times at home as indicators of sedentary behaviours (SB).
In years 2015 and 2016 in Finland.
864 children, aged 3-6 years, with their parents.
Children's accelerometer data were transformed into average SED minutes per hour in different contexts (preschool, home during preschool days, weekend and total). Parent-reported children's screen and reading times were expressed as average daily minutes. The SES indicators (maternal and paternal education and relative household income) were grouped into three categories. Linear or logistic regression analyses were used, with municipality, season, and children's gender and age as covariates. CIs were adjusted for clustering at the preschool group level.
Children with low maternal (ß=17.21, 95%?CI: 8.71 to 25.71) and paternal (ß=10.54, 95%?CI: 0.77 to 20.30) education had more overall screen time at home than their more advantaged counterparts. SES differences in overall screen time were mostly explained by TV viewing. Children with low as opposed to high maternal education (ß=-2.66, 95%?CI: -4.95 to -0.38) had less reading time at home. Children whose fathers were on the middle (ß=-1.15, 95%?CI: -2.01 to -0.29) educational level had less weekend SED than those with high paternal education. Otherwise, parental SES was not related to objectively measured SED.
The results of this study highlight the fact that the associations between parental SES and preschoolers' SB are dependent on the indicators of SES and SBs, and vary between different contexts. Generally, parental SES was not associated with SED, whereas some SES differences existed in screen time and reading time at home. Interventions aiming to diminish SES differences in children's SB should focus on home hours.
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Little is known about the mediating effects of the determinants of fruit and vegetable (FV) intake in school-based interventions that promote FV intake, and few studies have examined the impact of the degree of implementation on the effects of an intervention. The present study examined whether the degree of implementation of an intervention had an effect on children's fruit or vegetable intake and determined possible mediators of this effect. The study is part of the European PRO GREENS intervention study which aimed to develop effective strategies to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables in schoolchildren across Europe. Data from 727 Finnish children aged 11 years were used. The baseline study was conducted in spring 2009 and the follow-up study 12 months later. The intervention was conducted during the school year 2009-2010. The effects were examined using multilevel mediation analyses. A high degree of implementation of the intervention had an effect on children's fruit intake. Knowledge of recommendations for FV intake and liking mediated the association between a high degree of implementation of the intervention and an increase in the frequency of fruit intake. Knowledge of recommendations for FV intake and bringing fruits to school as a snack mediated the association between a low degree of implementation of the intervention and an increase in the frequency of fruit intake. Overall, the model accounted for 34 % of the variance in the change in fruit intake frequency. Knowledge of recommendations acted as a mediator between the degree of implementation of the intervention and the change in vegetable intake frequency. In conclusion, the degree of implementation had an effect on fruit intake, and thus in future intervention studies the actual degree of implementation of interventions should be assessed when considering the effects of interventions.