What determines fruit and vegetables intake of primary school children?- An analysis of personal and social determinants -

Background: High prevalence of childhood obesity is a major concern in developed as well as in developing countries. An increase of fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake is seen as one of numerous strategies to prevent and reduce the risk for adiposity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of different personal and social determinants for explaining children’s F&V intake. Method: Data were collected by means of a self-administered, written questionnaire among 48 primary school classes at 12 schools (3th and 4th graders) during August and September 2012. Hierarchical linear regression models were developed to assess the impact of different personal and social determinants on children F&V intake. Results: Regression models focusing on personal and social determinants, respectively, revealed that the most promising personal determinants were ‘knowing different types of F&V’ ‘liking different types of F&V’ as well as ‘preferences towards F&V’. Looking only at social determinants showed that ‘parental modeling’ and ‘peer influence’ had a significant positive, the factor ‘reminding encouragement to eat F&V’ a significant negative influence on children’s F&V intake. In combination, personal and social determinants yielded an improvement of model fit, whereby the following four determinates proved to be significant: ‘knowing different types of F&V’, ‘parental modeling’, ‘reminding encouragement’ and ‘preferences towards F&V’. Conclusion: The results show that personal as well as social determinants are associated with children’s F&V intake, whereby both groups of determinants seem to be of equal importance. Therefore, interventions aimed to improve children’s F&V intake should strength children’s preferences towards F&V, impart knowledge about the variety of F&V and encourage parents in acting as role models instead of putting pressure on their children.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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