Child control of food choices in head start families.
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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005 Jul-Aug;37(4):185-90. Related Articles, Links
Hoerr S, Utech AE, Ruth E.
OBJECTIVE: To describe parents’ perceived feeding practices of their Head Start children as related to 6 feeding constructs based on the literature about the division of mealtime responsibilities. DESIGN: A qualitative study involving 45-minute audiotaped and transcribed discussion groups with items that probed constructs of interest. SETTING: Five discussion groups were conducted in local, urban Head Start sites in a north central state. PARTICIPANTS: Head Start staff recruited 29 limited-income parents. PHENOMENA OF INTEREST: Parental comments were coded into categories related to the 6 feeding constructs and perceived barriers to their implementation. ANALYSIS: Researchers independently coded the discussion group transcripts based on common themes and feeding constructs. Codes were discussed until consensus was reached and data analyzed using Ethnograph 5.0. RESULTS: Parents frequently reported that their children decided which foods were offered for meals and snacks. Most parents reported such child control of foods to be a barrier to pleasant meal times. IMPLICATIONS: Nutrition educators can suggest solutions to improve parental self-efficacy for practicing mealtime responsibilities, such as offering a choice of several healthy foods from which a child might choose. The importance of planned meal and snack times might be promoted based on aiding children’s appetites at meals and reducing mealtime conflicts.