Home environment and child diet Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Tabak, Rachel G.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Nutrition
  • The purpose of this research was to assess the association between the home environment and child diet. This dissertation followed three aims. Aim 1 examined the association between home food availability, measured by an open, researcher conducted inventory, and dietary intake in 3-8 year old children (N = 82). The only significant association remaining after adjustment for income, number of children and adults in the home, occupation, and race, was between vegetable intake and vegetable availability (OR=1.51, 95% CI=1.17-1.96). The purpose of Aim 2 was to explore the social environment and its relationship with dietary behaviors. From a parent-report questionnaire, three factors describing the home environment were identified, where eat, control, and self-serve, using exploratory factor analysis. The associations between these factors, and four individual, non-loading items, and child diet were examined. After adjustment for child age, occupation, income, and race, positive correlations were observed between intake of sweet snacks and the self-serve subscale (r = 0.29, p = 0.01), vegetable intake and parent modeling (r = 0.26, p = 0.04), and dinners away from home and fruit/fruit juice (r = 0.24, p = 0.05) intake. A negative correlation was observed between soda intake and modeling (r = -0.26, p = 0.03). Aim 3 consisted of a randomized controlled trial piloting a four-month intervention involving four tailored newsletters and two phone calls targeting the home environment to increase vegetable intake in children. Vegetable intake in intervention group children (n=22) increased more than those in the control group (n=21) (+0.09 ± 0.3 servings/day intervention vs. -0.03 ± 0.54 control), but this difference was not significant. Parents in the intervention group reported increased vegetable availability in their homes (+1.55 ± 2.46 intervention vs. -0.33 ± 2.69 control, p=0.02). Additionally, intervention group parents reported positive social environment changes, for example, the number of days per week they suggested a fruit or vegetable for snack (p=0.04). The results of this dissertation suggest that a parent-focused intervention may lead to changes to the home environment. More research is needed to see if such interventions over longer intervention periods could be helpful for making dietary changes.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Nutrition."
  • Ward, Dianne
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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