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Open AccessArticle

Influences of Parental Snacking-Related Attitudes, Behaviours and Nutritional Knowledge on Young Children’s Healthy and Unhealthy Snacking: The ToyBox Study

1
Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, London SW15 4JD, UK
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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Physical Education, Sport Science and Dietetics, University of Thessaly, 42132 Trikala, Greece
3
GENUD (Growth, Exercise, NUtrition and Development) Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Edificio del SAI, C/Pedro Cerbuna s/n, 50009 Saragossa, Spain
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Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), 50013 Saragossa, Spain
5
Fundación Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Aragón (IIS Aragón), 50009 Saragossa, Spain
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The Children’s Memorial Health Institute, 04-730 Warsaw, Poland
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Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Varna, 9002 Varna, Bulgaria
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Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Dr von Hauner Children’s Hospital, LMU-Ludwig-Maximilians-University at Munich, D-80337 Munich, Germany
10
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, 17671 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Membership of ToyBox-study group is provided in the Acknowledgments.
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020432
Received: 29 December 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2020 / Accepted: 4 February 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
This study investigated parental influences on preschool children’s healthy and unhealthy snacking in relation to child obesity in a large cross-sectional multinational sample. Parents and 3–5 year-old child dyads (n = 5185) in a kindergarten-based study provided extensive sociodemographic, dietary practice and food intake data. Parental feeding practices that were derived from questionnaires were examined for associations with child healthy and unhealthy snacking in adjusted multilevel models, including child estimated energy expenditure, parental education, and nutritional knowledge. Parental healthy and unhealthy snacking was respectively associated with their children’s snacking (both p < 0.0001). Making healthy snacks available to their children was specifically associated with greater child healthy snack intake (p < 0.0001). Conversely, practices that were related to unhealthy snacking, i.e., being permissive about unhealthy snacking and acceding to child demands for unhealthy snacks, were associated with greater consumption of unhealthy snacks by children, but also less intake of healthy snacks (all p < 0.0001). Parents having more education and greater nutritional knowledge of snack food recommendations had children who ate more healthy snacks (all p < 0.0001) and fewer unhealthy snacks (p = 0.002, p < 0.0001, respectively). In the adjusted models, child obesity was not related to healthy or unhealthy snack intake in these young children. The findings support interventions that address parental practices and distinguish between healthy and unhealthy snacking to influence young children’s dietary patterns.
Keywords: child obesity; snacking; preschool children; nutrition; parents; feeding practices; Europe child obesity; snacking; preschool children; nutrition; parents; feeding practices; Europe
MDPI and ACS Style

Gibson, E.L.; Androutsos, O.; Moreno, L.; Flores-Barrantes, P.; Socha, P.; Iotova, V.; Cardon, G.; De Bourdeaudhuij, I.; Koletzko, B.; Skripkauskaite, S.; Manios, Y.; on behalf of the Toybox-study Group. Influences of Parental Snacking-Related Attitudes, Behaviours and Nutritional Knowledge on Young Children’s Healthy and Unhealthy Snacking: The ToyBox Study. Nutrients 2020, 12, 432.

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