Home Food Availability, Parental Dietary Intake, and Familial Eating Habits Influence the Diet Quality of Urban Hispanic Children.
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Abstract Background: The home food environment influences children's eating behaviors and potentially affects overall diet quality. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between the home food environment and Hispanic children's diet quality. Methods: Hispanic children, 10-14 years of age (n=187), and their parents participated in this cross-sectional study. The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) was used to determine diet quality based on reported dietary intake obtained through a food frequency questionnaire administered to the children. Parents self-reported home food availability, familial eating habits, and their own habitual diet through a home environment survey. Results: The children's HEI total score was 59.4±8.8. Reported diets did not adhere to the dietary recommendations for total vegetables, greens and beans, whole grains, seafood and plant proteins, fatty acids, refined grains, sodium, solid fats, and added sugars. None of the participants had "good" scores (HEI, >80), 86% had scores that "need improvement" (HEI, 51-80), and 14% had "poor" scores (HEI, <50). Children with lower HEI scores had sugar-sweetened beverages available at home and participated in family meals while watching television more frequently, when compared with children with higher HEI scores. Conclusions: Home food availability, parental diet, and familial eating habits seem to play an important role in the diet quality of children. Interventions targeting family education on healthful dietary habits at home could have a positive impact on children's diet quality and overall health.