To study the associations between home food availability and dietary patterns among pre-school children.
Cross-sectional study in which parents of the participating children filled in an FFQ and reported how often they had certain foods in their homes. We derived dietary pattern scores using principal component analysis, and composite scores describing the availability of fruits and vegetables as well as sugar-enriched foods in the home were created for each participant. We used multilevel models to investigate the associations between availability and dietary pattern scores.
The DAGIS study, Finland.
The participants were 864 Finnish 3-6-year-old children recruited from sixty-six pre-schools. The analyses included 711 children with sufficient data.
We identified three dietary patterns explaining 16·7 % of the variance. The patterns were named 'sweets-and-treats' (high loadings of e.g. sweet biscuits, chocolate, ice cream), 'health-conscious' (high loadings of e.g. nuts, natural yoghurt, berries) and 'vegetables-and-processed meats' (high loadings of e.g. vegetables, cold cuts, fruit). In multivariate models, the availability of fruits and vegetables was inversely associated with the sweets-and-treats pattern (ß=-0·05, P
We examined whether there are sex differences in children's fruit and vegetable (FV) intake and in descriptive norms (i.e. perceived FV intake) related to parents and friends. We also studied whether friends' impact is as important as that of parents on children's FV intake. Data from the PRO GREENS project in Finland were obtained from 424 children at the age 11 years at baseline. At baseline, 2009 children filled in a questionnaire about descriptive norms conceptualised as perceived FV intake of their parents and friends. They also filled in a validated FFQ that assessed their FV intake both at baseline and in the follow-up in 2010. The associations were examined with multi-level regression analyses with multi-group comparisons. Girls reported higher perceived FV intake of friends and higher own fruit intake at baseline, compared with boys, and higher vegetable intake both at baseline and in the follow-up. Perceived FV intake of parents and friends was positively associated with both girls' and boys' FV intake in both study years. The impact of perceived fruit intake of the mother was stronger among boys. The change in children's FV intake was affected only by perceived FV intake of father and friends. No large sex differences in descriptive norms were found, but the impact of friends on children's FV intake can generally be considered as important as that of parents. Future interventions could benefit from taking into account friends' impact as role models on children's FV intake.
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.
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.