Special Issue "Environmental Influences on Dietary Intake of Children and Adolescents"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jessica S. Gubbels
Website
Guest Editor
Maastricht University, Department Health Promotion, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Interests: childhood overweight; nutrition; physical activity; environmental influences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Childhood is a crucial period for establishing lifelong healthy nutritional habits. The environment has an important influence on children’s dietary intake. Within the socio-cultural environment, parents, grandparents, peers, siblings, teachers, and others are important, for instance, by modelling behavior, implementing rules, or expressing certain norms. In addition to such interpersonal influences, higher-level influences are also important. These include the influence that social media and marketing of unhealthy foods have on today’s youngsters. Within the physical environment, the availability of healthy and unhealthy foods at home, school, and food outlets in the neighbourhood, among others, are essential. At the same time, the costs of healthy and unhealthy foods are of undeniable importance. Policies regarding these factors can set environmental changes into motion and ensure their long-term maintenance.

The current Special Issue focuses on the influence of environmental factors (socio-cultural, physical, political, and/or economic) on the dietary intake of children and adolescents (0–18 years of age) within any setting (e.g., home, child-care, school, neighbourhood) or environmental level. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, those described above. All types of quantitative (both observational and intervention studies) and qualitative studies are welcomed.

Dr. Jessica S. Gubbels
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Children and adolescents
  • Dietary intake
  • Nutritional habits
  • Environmental influences
  • Social influences
  • Availability, accessibility, and costs of food
  • Nutrition-related policy

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Environmental Influences on Dietary Intake of Children and Adolescents
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040922 - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Childhood is a crucial period for establishing lifelong healthy nutritional habits [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Adolescents’ Food Purchasing Patterns in The School Food Environment: Examining the Role of Perceived Relationship Support and Maternal Monitoring
Nutrients 2020, 12(3), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030733 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The school food environment plays a role in adolescents’ dietary behaviors. In this study, adolescents’ food purchasing patterns in and around school and its potential relationship with perceived maternal relationship support and maternal monitoring were examined. Data were collected in The Netherlands in [...] Read more.
The school food environment plays a role in adolescents’ dietary behaviors. In this study, adolescents’ food purchasing patterns in and around school and its potential relationship with perceived maternal relationship support and maternal monitoring were examined. Data were collected in The Netherlands in 2017. A total of 726 adolescents (45.8% boys; Mage = 13.78 ± 0.49) and 713 mothers (Mage = 45.05 ± 4.45) participated. Adolescents’ frequency of bringing and purchasing foods was assessed via a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Relationship support and monitoring were measured via self-report questionnaires. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was conducted to examine associations between adolescents’ food purchasing patterns, relationship support, and monitoring. Results indicated that adolescents brought food and drinks mostly from home, and infrequently purchased these products in and around school. Yet, differences exist between subgroups of adolescents. Relationship support was positively associated with bringing fruit, vegetables and salad and negatively associated with purchasing sweet snacks. No associations were found for monitoring. These findings indicate that family-home determinants of healthy and unhealthy eating are important factors to consider when examining the impact of the school food environment on adolescents’ food purchasing patterns. This has implications for policy makers who aim to develop and implement measures to improve adolescents’ eating in and around school. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Food Consumed by High School Students during the School Day
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020485 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The development of healthy eating habits in adolescence is perceived as an effective strategy to avoid health problems in adulthood. The involvement of educational centres’ governing boards, as well as the Educational State and Regional Administrations’, may be necessary to create healthy food [...] Read more.
The development of healthy eating habits in adolescence is perceived as an effective strategy to avoid health problems in adulthood. The involvement of educational centres’ governing boards, as well as the Educational State and Regional Administrations’, may be necessary to create healthy food environments during the school day. The objective of this study is to identify the relationship between students’ eating habits during the school day and sociodemographic, family and physical activity variables, as well as the existence of a school cafeteria. For this, a cross-sectional study in a stratified random sample of 8068 students of Public Secondary Education High Schools of Andalusia (Spain) has been carried out. The results show that students who are 14 years old or older are more likely to skip breakfast at home (odds ratio (OR): 1.81, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.55–2.12) than those under this age. Students whose mothers do not have a university education are more likely to consume incomplete breakfasts (OR: 1.83, 95% CI: 1.26–2.65). Snacks with sweets (OR: 1.93, 95% CI: 1.67–2.23), candy in general (OR: 2.75, 95% CI: 2.38–3.19), and bagged crisps (OR: 3.06, 95% CI: 2.65–3.54) were more likely to be consumed in schools with a cafeteria. The factors that significantly influence the eating habits of secondary students in Andalusia include age, sex, parental level of education, physical activity and the existence of a cafeteria. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influences of Parental Snacking-Related Attitudes, Behaviours and Nutritional Knowledge on Young Children’s Healthy and Unhealthy Snacking: The ToyBox Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020432 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exposure to Food and Beverage Advertising on Television among Canadian Adolescents, 2011 to 2016
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020428 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Adolescents represent a key audience for food advertisers, however there is little evidence of adolescent exposure to food marketing in Canada. This study examined trends in Canadian adolescents’ exposure to food advertising on television. To do so, data on 19 food categories were [...] Read more.
Adolescents represent a key audience for food advertisers, however there is little evidence of adolescent exposure to food marketing in Canada. This study examined trends in Canadian adolescents’ exposure to food advertising on television. To do so, data on 19 food categories were licensed from Nielsen Media Research for May 2011, 2013, and 2016 for the broadcasting market of Toronto, Canada. The average number of advertisements viewed by adolescents aged 12–17 years on 31 television stations during the month of May each year was estimated using television ratings data. Findings revealed that between May 2011 and May 2016, the total number of food advertisements aired on all television stations increased by 4%, while adolescents’ average exposure to food advertising decreased by 31%, going from 221 ads in May 2011 to 154 in May 2016. In May 2016, the advertising of fast food and sugary drinks dominated, relative to other categories, accounting for 42% and 11% of all exposures, respectively. The findings demonstrate a declining trend in exposure to television food advertising among Canadian adolescents, which may be due to shifts in media consumption. These data may serve as a benchmark for monitoring and evaluating future food marketing policies in Canada. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Physical Education Classes as a Precursor to the Mediterranean Diet and the Practice of Physical Activity
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010239 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Physical activity and a healthy, balanced diet are remaining unresolved issues among young people. According to the World Health Organization, young people do not get enough exercise during the week, and physical education classes are the best way to promote healthy habits. This [...] Read more.
Physical activity and a healthy, balanced diet are remaining unresolved issues among young people. According to the World Health Organization, young people do not get enough exercise during the week, and physical education classes are the best way to promote healthy habits. This study aims to analyze how the role of the teacher influences the frustration of psychological needs, coping strategies, motivation, and the adoption of healthy eating habits through the Mediterranean diet and the regular practice of physical activity. The study involved 1031 boys and 910 girls between the ages of 13 and 18. To explain the relationships between the different variables included in this study, a model of structural equations has been developed. The results showed that autonomy support negatively predicted the frustration of four psychological needs. The failure to meet four psychological needs negatively predicted resilience. Likewise, resilience positively predicted autonomous motivation, and this positively predicted the Mediterranean diet and the practice of physical activity. Thus, the results obtained in the present study are in line with those of various studies wherein physical education classes were seen to help consolidate healthy living habits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Can Parenting Practices Moderate the Relationship between Reward Sensitivity and Adolescents’ Consumption of Snacks and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages?
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010178 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: Reward sensitivity has been associated with adolescents’ intake of unhealthy snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. However, so far, there are no studies published describing the impact of parenting practices on this relationship. The present study will, therefore, investigate whether food parenting practices can [...] Read more.
Background: Reward sensitivity has been associated with adolescents’ intake of unhealthy snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. However, so far, there are no studies published describing the impact of parenting practices on this relationship. The present study will, therefore, investigate whether food parenting practices can moderate the association between reward sensitivity and diet intakes. Method: A cross-sectional research study was conducted among 14- to 16-year old Flemish adolescents (n = 867, age 14.7 ± 0.8 y, 48.1% boys) and a subset of their parents (n = 131), collecting data on daily intakes, reward sensitivity, and food parenting practices. Linear regression was used to assess the moderation effect of parenting practices (both adolescent- and parent-reported) on the relationship between reward sensitivity, and diet using SPSS 25.0. Results: In the main analysis (adolescent-reported), no significant moderation effects were found for parenting practices on the relationship between reward sensitivity and diet. However, the sensitivity analysis (parent-reported) showed a moderation effect for health-reducing parenting practices on the association between reward sensitivity and unhealthy snack intake (β = 0.297, 95% CI = 0.062, 0.531, p = 0.01). Conclusion: Given the difference in the effect of parenting practices between the adolescent- and parent-reported data, our inconclusive findings warrant more research in larger adolescent-parent dyad samples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Perceived Barriers to Fruit and Vegetable Gardens in Early Years Settings in England: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey of Nurseries
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2925; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122925 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Garden-based interventions may increase child intake of fruits and vegetables and offset food costs, but few have been conducted in early care and education (ECE). This study assessed whether nurseries were interested in and perceived any barriers to growing fruits and vegetables. Surveys [...] Read more.
Garden-based interventions may increase child intake of fruits and vegetables and offset food costs, but few have been conducted in early care and education (ECE). This study assessed whether nurseries were interested in and perceived any barriers to growing fruits and vegetables. Surveys were mailed to a cross-sectional sample of nurseries in 2012–2013 throughout England. Nurseries were stratified based on socioeconomic status as most, middle, or least deprived areas. We fit logistic regression models to assess the odds of nurseries interested in growing fruits and vegetables and perceiving any barriers, by deprivation tertile. A total of 851 surveys were returned (54% response). Most nurseries (81%) were interested in growing fruits and vegetables. After adjustment, there was no difference in interest in the middle (OR 1.55; CI 0.84, 2.78; p = 0.16) or most (OR 1.05; CI 0.62, 1.78; p = 0.87) deprived areas, compared to the least deprived. Nurseries reported barriers to growing fruits and vegetables, including space (42%), expertise (26%), and time (16%). Those in the most deprived areas were more likely to report space as a barrier (OR 2.02; 95% CI 1.12, 3.66; p = 0.02). Nurseries in the most deprived areas may need creative solutions for growing fruits and vegetables in small spaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Home Cooking and Child Obesity in Japan: Results from the A-CHILD Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2859; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122859 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the association between the frequency of home cooking and obesity among children in Japan. We used cross-sectional data from the Adachi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty study, a population-based sample targeting all fourth-grade students aged 9 to [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the association between the frequency of home cooking and obesity among children in Japan. We used cross-sectional data from the Adachi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty study, a population-based sample targeting all fourth-grade students aged 9 to 10 in Adachi City, Tokyo, Japan. Frequency of home cooking was assessed by a questionnaire for 4258 caregivers and classified as high (almost every day), medium (4–5 days/week), or low (≤3 days/week). School health checkup data on height and weight were used to calculate body mass index z-scores. Overall, 2.4% and 10.8% of children were exposed to low and medium frequencies of home cooking, respectively. After adjusting for confounding factors, children with a low frequency of home cooking were 2.27 times (95% confidence interval: 1.16–4.45) more likely to be obese, compared with those with a high frequency of home cooking. After adjustment for children’s obesity-related eating behaviors (frequency of vegetable and breakfast intake and snacking habits) as potential mediating factors, the relative risk ratio of obesity became statistically non-significant (1.90; 95% confidence interval: 0.95–3.82). A low frequency of home cooking is associated with obesity among children in Japan, and this link may be explained by unhealthy eating behaviors. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influence of Teaching Style on Physical Education Adolescents’ Motivation and Health-Related Lifestyle
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2594; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112594 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
According to various WHO reports in 2018, a large number of adolescents worldwide are either overweight or obese. This situation is the result of not following a healthy and balanced diet, combined with a lack of practice of physical activity. In this sense, [...] Read more.
According to various WHO reports in 2018, a large number of adolescents worldwide are either overweight or obese. This situation is the result of not following a healthy and balanced diet, combined with a lack of practice of physical activity. In this sense, Physical Education classes could help to solve the problem. The present study seeks to analyze the relationship between the role of the teacher in relation to the structural dimensions of the PE teaching environment and the basic psychological needs and self-motivation of adolescents as determinants of their behaviors related to eating habits and the practice of physical activity. A total of 1127 secondary school adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 participated in this study. Questionnaires were used: Perceived Autonomy Support Scale, Psychologically Controlling Teaching Scale, Basic Psychological Needs in Physical Education, Frustration of Psychological Needs in PE context, Physical Activity Class Satisfaction Questionnaire, Perceived Locus of Causality Revised, and WHO’s Global school-based student health survey. A structural equations model was elaborated to explain the causal relationships between the variables. The results showed that autonomy support positively predicted the three structural dimensions of PE classes, while, in contrast, they were negatively predicted by psychological control. The three structural dimensions positively predicted the satisfaction of psychological needs and negatively predicted the thwarting of psychological needs. Self-determined motivation was positively predicted by the satisfaction of psychological needs and negatively predicted by the thwarting of psychological needs. Finally, self-determined motivation positively predicted healthy eating habits and the practice of physical activity and negatively predicted unhealthy eating habits. Certainly, the results obtained in this study support the postulates of the self-determination theory, demonstrating the predictability of PE class context towards the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits, such as a proper diet and the regular practice of physical activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Cross-Sectional Study on the Relationship between the Family Nutrition Climate and Children’s Nutrition Behavior
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2344; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102344 - 02 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Parents influence their children’s nutrition behavior. The relationship between parental influences and children’s nutrition behavior is often studied with a focus on the dyadic interaction between the parent and the child. However, parents and children are part of a broader system: the [...] Read more.
Background: Parents influence their children’s nutrition behavior. The relationship between parental influences and children’s nutrition behavior is often studied with a focus on the dyadic interaction between the parent and the child. However, parents and children are part of a broader system: the family. We investigated the relationship between the family nutrition climate (FNC), a family-level concept, and children’s nutrition behavior. Methods: Parents of primary school-aged children (N = 229) filled in the validated family nutrition climate (FNC) scale. This scale measures the families’ view on the consumption of healthy nutrition, consisting of four different concepts: value, communication, cohesion, and consensus. Parents also reported their children’s nutrition behavior (i.e., fruit, vegetable, water, candy, savory snack, and soda consumption). Multivariate linear regression analyses, correcting for potential confounders, were used to assess the relationship between the FNC scale (FNC-Total; model 1) and the different FNC subscales (model 2) and the child’s nutrition behavior. Results: FNC-Total was positively related to fruit and vegetable intake and negatively related to soda consumption. FNC-value was a significant predictor of vegetable (positive) and candy intake (negative), and FNC-communication was a significant predictor of soda consumption (negative). FNC-communication, FNC-cohesion, and FNC-consensus were significant predictors (positive, positive, and negative, respectively) of water consumption. Conclusions: The FNC is related to children’s nutrition behavior and especially to the consumption of healthy nutrition. These results imply the importance of taking the family-level influence into account when studying the influence of parents on children’s nutrition behavior. Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR6716 (registration date 27 June 2017, retrospectively registered), METC163027, NL58554.068.16, Fonds NutsOhra project number 101.253. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Unravelling the Effects of the Healthy Primary School of the Future: For Whom and Where Is It Effective?
Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 2119; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092119 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ‘Healthy Primary School of the Future’ (HPSF) aims to integrate health and well-being within the whole school system. This study examined the two-year effects of HPSF on children’s dietary and physical activity (PA) behaviours at school and at home and investigated whether [...] Read more.
The ‘Healthy Primary School of the Future’ (HPSF) aims to integrate health and well-being within the whole school system. This study examined the two-year effects of HPSF on children’s dietary and physical activity (PA) behaviours at school and at home and investigated whether child characteristics or the home context moderated these effects. This study (n = 1676 children) has a quasi-experimental design with four intervention schools, i.e., two full HPSF (focus: nutrition and PA), two partial HPSF (focus: PA), and four control schools. Measurements consisted of accelerometry (Actigraph GT3X+) and questionnaires. Favourable effects on children’s dietary and PA behaviours at school were found in the full HPSF; in the partial HPSF, only on PA behaviours. Children in the full HPSF did not compensate at home for the improved health behaviours at school, while in the partial HPSF, the children became less active at home. In both the full and partial HPSF, less favourable effects at school were found for younger children. At home, less favourable effects were found for children with a lower socioeconomic status. Overall, the effect of the full HPSF on children’s dietary and PA behaviours was larger and more equally beneficial for all children than that of the partial HPSF. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tracking Kids’ Food: Comparing the Nutritional Value and Marketing Appeals of Child-Targeted Supermarket Products Over Time
Nutrients 2019, 11(8), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081850 - 09 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Marketing unhealthy foods negatively impacts children’s food preferences, dietary habits and health, prompting calls for regulations that will help to create an “enabling” food environment for children. One powerful food marketing technique is product packaging, but little is known about the nature or [...] Read more.
Marketing unhealthy foods negatively impacts children’s food preferences, dietary habits and health, prompting calls for regulations that will help to create an “enabling” food environment for children. One powerful food marketing technique is product packaging, but little is known about the nature or quality of child-targeted food products over time. This study assesses how child-targeted supermarket foods in Canada have transformed with respect to nutritional profile and types of marketing appeals (that is, the power of such marketing). Products from 2009 (n = 354) and from 2017 (n = 374) were first evaluated and compared in light of two established nutritional criteria, and then compared in terms of marketing techniques on packages. Overall, child-targeted supermarket foods did not improve nutritionally over time: 88% of child-targeted products (across both datasets) would not be permitted to be marketed to children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, and sugar levels remained consistently high. Despite this poor nutritional quality, the use of nutrition claims increased significantly over time, as did the use of cartoon characters and appealing fonts to attract children’s attention. Character licensing—using characters from entertainment companies—remained consistent. The findings reveal the critical need to consider packaging as part of the strategy for protecting children from unhealthy food marketing. Given the poor nutritional quality and appealing nature of child-oriented supermarket foods, food product packaging needs to be included in the WHO’s call to improve the restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Contribution of Preschool Meals to the Diet of Finnish Preschoolers
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071531 - 05 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Preschool meals may influence the formation of children’s dietary habits and health. We assessed the contribution of preschool meals to the diet of Finnish children. We used food record data from the cross-sectional DAGIS survey and selected recording days which included all three [...] Read more.
Preschool meals may influence the formation of children’s dietary habits and health. We assessed the contribution of preschool meals to the diet of Finnish children. We used food record data from the cross-sectional DAGIS survey and selected recording days which included all three meals (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack) at preschool. We analyzed the diet of three- to four-year-olds (n = 324) and five- to six-year-olds (n = 233). Preschool meals accounted for 54% of the weekday’s energy intake in both age groups, and provided ≥60% of total fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins D and E. More than 60% of fish dishes but only one third of total daily fresh fruit were consumed at preschool. The mean (SD) percentages of energy from protein and fat at preschool were 17% (3%) and 30% (7%) in the younger and 17% (3%) and 31% (6%) in the older age group, respectively. The mean proportions of energy from added sugar at preschool were below 5% in both age groups. On average, salt intake exceeded recommendations and 60% of salt came from preschool food. Tackling high salt intake should be a future goal of guidance for early childhood education and care food services. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Retail Food Environment around Schools in a Southern European Context
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071511 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Across Europe, excess body weight rates are particularly high among children and adolescents living in Southern European contexts. In Spain, current food policies appeal to voluntary self-regulation of the food industry and parents’ responsibility. However, there is no research (within Spain) assessing the [...] Read more.
Across Europe, excess body weight rates are particularly high among children and adolescents living in Southern European contexts. In Spain, current food policies appeal to voluntary self-regulation of the food industry and parents’ responsibility. However, there is no research (within Spain) assessing the food environment surrounding schools. We examined the association between neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (NSES) and the spatial access to an unhealthy food environment around schools using both counts and distance measures, across the city of Madrid. We conducted a cross-sectional study citywide (n = 2443 census tracts). In 2017, we identified all schools (n = 1321) and all food retailers offering unhealthy food and beverages surrounding them (n = 6530) using publicly available data. We examined both the counts of retailers (within 400 m) and the distance (in meters) from the schools to the closest retailer. We used multilevel regressions to model the association of neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (NSES) with both measures, adjusting both models for population density. Almost all schools (95%) were surrounded by unhealthy retailers within 400 m (median = 17 retailers; interquartile range = 8–34). After adjusting for population density, NSES remained inversely associated with unhealthy food availability. Schools located in low-NSES areas (two lowest quintiles) showed, on average, 29% (IRR (Incidence Rate Ratio) = 1.29; 95% CI (Confidence Interval) = 1.12, 1.50) and 62% (IRR = 1.62; 95% CI = 1.35, 1.95) more counts of unhealthy retailers compared with schools in middle-NSES areas (ref.). Schools in high-NSES areas were farther from unhealthy food sources than those schools located in middle-NSES areas (β = 0.35; 95% CI = 0.14, 0.47). Regulating the school food environment (within and beyond school boundaries) may be a promising direction to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fruit, Vegetable, and Fibre Intake among Finnish Preschoolers in Relation to Preschool-Level Facilitators and Barriers to Healthy Nutrition
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1458; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071458 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Preschool is a major factor affecting food consumption among young children in Finland, given that most preschoolers eat three meals a day in that setting. Thus, it is important to recognise the determinants of dietary intake at preschool. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Preschool is a major factor affecting food consumption among young children in Finland, given that most preschoolers eat three meals a day in that setting. Thus, it is important to recognise the determinants of dietary intake at preschool. The aim of this study was to examine food-related factors at the preschool and manager level, and their association with the dietary intake of children in childcare. The study was a part of the cross-sectional DAGIS survey conducted in 2015 to 2016 in Finland. The managers of 58 preschools filled in a questionnaire related to food and nutrition at their preschools. Preschool personnel kept food records for the children (n = 585) on two preschool days. Multilevel linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted with age, gender, and municipality as covariates, preschool-level factors as independent variables, and children’s vegetable (g/day) and fruit (yes vs. no) consumption and fibre intake (g/MJ) as outcome variables. Having many written food policies in the preschool was associated with a higher intake of vegetables (p = 0.01) and fibre (p = 0.03) among the children. Having at least two out of three cooperation-related challenges with the catering service was associated with a higher intake of fibre (p = 0.03) and lower odds of eating fruit (p = 0.01). Factors that are relatively distal from meal situations may have an effect, and should be taken into account in the promotion of healthy eating at preschool, but more studies are needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Opportunities and Challenges Arising from Holiday Clubs Tackling Children’s Hunger in the UK: Pilot Club Leader Perspectives
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1237; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061237 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
With the school holidays being recognised as a high-risk time for children to experience food insecurity, there is a growing prevalence of school holiday initiatives that include free food. However, information is lacking into what constitutes effective practice in their delivery, and how [...] Read more.
With the school holidays being recognised as a high-risk time for children to experience food insecurity, there is a growing prevalence of school holiday initiatives that include free food. However, information is lacking into what constitutes effective practice in their delivery, and how this can be evaluated. This paper provides insight from individuals who implemented a pilot of a national project which provided free food for children at UK community summer holiday sports clubs in 2016. Focus groups were conducted with all 15 leaders of the holiday clubs that participated in the pilot to understand: (1) what opportunities are provided by community holiday sports clubs which include free food; (2) what challenges arose as a result of offering free food within a broader community holiday club sports offer. Results indicate that offering free food at such clubs creates multiple opportunities for attending children, including: experiencing social interactions around food; enhancing food experiences and food confidence; and promoting positive behaviour. However, free food provision is associated with challenges including resource constraints and tensions around project aims. Future work should determine whether holiday clubs can positively impact children’s wellbeing and healthy eating. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Modern Transference of Domestic Cooking Skills
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040870 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
As the primary source of learning cooking skills; it is vital to understand what mothers think about the transference of cooking skills to their children. The current analysis aimed to highlight mothers’ perceptions of children’s involvement and cooking practices within the home setting. [...] Read more.
As the primary source of learning cooking skills; it is vital to understand what mothers think about the transference of cooking skills to their children. The current analysis aimed to highlight mothers’ perceptions of children’s involvement and cooking practices within the home setting. Sixteen focus group discussions were conducted on the island of Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland [UK]) with 141 mothers aged 20–39 years old. All focus groups were transcribed verbatim and an inductive thematic analysis using NVivo software was undertaken. Seven themes emerged from the dataset; (1) “How we learned to cook”; (2) “Who’s the boss”; (3) “Children in the way”; (4) “Keep kids out”; (5) “Involvement means eating”; (6) “Intentions versus reality”; and (7) “Kids’ ‘interest’ in cooking”. These themes illustrate a lack of cooking skill transference in relation to everyday meal preparation in modern times. The culture of children in the kitchen has vastly changed; and opportunities for children to learn basic skills are currently limited. Further research is required to confirm the findings that emerged from this analysis. Full article
Open AccessArticle
We Don’t Have a Lot of Healthy Options: Food Environment Perceptions of First-Year, Minority College Students Attending a Food Desert Campus
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040816 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
First-year college students are at particular risk of dietary maladaptation during their transition to adulthood. A college environment that facilitates consistent access to nutritious food is critical to ensuring dietary adequacy among students. The objective of the study was to examine perceptions of [...] Read more.
First-year college students are at particular risk of dietary maladaptation during their transition to adulthood. A college environment that facilitates consistent access to nutritious food is critical to ensuring dietary adequacy among students. The objective of the study was to examine perceptions of the campus food environment and its influence on the eating choices of first-year students attending a minority-serving university located in a food desert. Focus group interviews with twenty-one first-year students were conducted from November 2016 to January 2017. Students participated in 1 of 5 focus groups. Most interviewees identified as being of Hispanic/Latino or Asian/Pacific Islander origin. A grounded theory approach was applied for inductive identification of relevant concepts and deductive interpretation of patterns and relationships among themes. Themes related to the perceived food environment included adequacy (i.e., variety and quality), acceptability (i.e., familiarity and preferences), affordability, and accessibility (i.e., convenience and accommodation). Subjective norms and processes of decisional balance and agency were themes characterizing interpersonal and personal factors affecting students’ eating choices. The perceived environment appeared to closely interact with subjective norms to inform internal processes of decision-making and agency around the eating choices of first-year students attending a minority-serving university campus located in a food desert. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Reform of School Catering in Hungary: Anatomy of a Health-Education Attempt
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040716 - 27 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
School lunch nutrition standards are an important carrier of messages on healthy eating and an efficient way of changing the nutritional behaviour of new generations. Many countries in Europe have a compulsory system of school meals; the Hungarian government also wanted to take [...] Read more.
School lunch nutrition standards are an important carrier of messages on healthy eating and an efficient way of changing the nutritional behaviour of new generations. Many countries in Europe have a compulsory system of school meals; the Hungarian government also wanted to take action in order to improve the nutrition requirements of the school catering service. The Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources established some limits in the school catering system. However, increasing public pressure forced the legislating organ to considerably modify this regulation. The aim of this study is to analyse the causes of this failure, based on a conceptual framework of institutional economics and a strategic modelling of different institutes by examining the results of 72 interviews (33 experts, 26 parents and 13 teachers) conducted with representatives of different stakeholders. The results highlight the lack of preparation for the introduction of the new regulatory framework, as well as the inefficient communication between the different stakeholders. In order to support children in eating healthfully, a complex nutrition education program and continuous dialogue is needed between teachers, parents, catering staff and the government. Full article
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