Fruit and Vegetable Intakes of Preschool Children Are Associated With Feeding Practices Facilitating Internalization of Extrinsic Motivationedit
Objective: To examine the association between feeding practices and both fruit and vegetable intakes of preschoolers., Design: Cross-sectional; data collected from 2009 to 2010., Setting: Child care centers enrolled in the cohort of the Synergistic Theory and Research on Obesity and Nutrition Group Kids program. Participants: Three hundred and sixteen mother–child dyads were recruited in the baseline survey as primary caregivers of children aged 2–5 years. Main Outcome Measures: Ten aspects of maternal feeding practices were measured using a Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire. The frequency of children’s fruit and vegetable consumption was estimated by mothers. Analysis: Spearman’s rank order correlation and linear regression analysis between parental feeding practices and both fruit and vegetable consumption were adjusted for potential confounders. Pearson’s correlation coefficients among 10 parental feeding practices were calculated. Results: Children in the study consumed fruit 1.7 ± 0.9 times per day and vegetables 1.4 ± 0.8 times per day. Feeding practices of building a healthy home food environment and involvement were positively related and those of restriction for health were negatively related to children’s vegetable consumption (P < .001); moreover, encouraging balance and variety and monitoring were positively related to children's fruit consumption (P < .001). Conclusions and Implications: The results of this study suggest that both fruit and vegetable intakes of preschool children are more likely to increase if parents employ feeding practices that encourage child autonomy, competence, and relatedness.