An Examination of Parental Influences on Eating Habits of School age Children

Tasha M. Sabal, Torhonda Corliss Lee


This study examined the factors that influence caregivers dietary behaviors and their perceptions of their childrens consumption of fruits and vegetables. A survey instrument, framed by the Social Ecological Model, was administered to parents or caregivers whose children attend school in Leon County, Florida. Inclusion criteria for participants included being 18 years of age or older and being a parent or caregiver of a school aged child. There were a total of 178 participants.

Results show that the percentage of parents in the study who consume at least five fruits and vegetables daily are low. Parents who report consuming recommended amounts of fruit and vegetable servings daily, also perceive that their child(ren) consume fruits and vegetables daily. However, the factors associated with parental consumption of fruits and vegetables (race/ethnicity and breakfast most days) differ from the one associated with child fruit and vegetable consumption (parental approval). This study also highlights parents perceptions of the school setting as a secondary source of fruit and vegetable availability for their children, with the home being a primary source.


fruit and vegetable consumption; parental perceptions;

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