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Keywords:

  • children;
  • overweight;
  • vegetable consumption.

Abstract

Background:  Information on the role of family dietary behaviours is needed to enable the design of effective interventions for treatment of childhood obesity. The present study aimed to analyse differences in consumption and predictors of fruit, berries and vegetables (FBV) between normal-weight and overweight treatment-seeking children and their parents.

Methods:  Fifty-four treatment-seeking overweight and 65 normal-weight 8-year-old children and their parents participated in the present study. Children’s and parent’s consumption of FBV were assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. Availability of vegetables at home meals, child’s preference for FBV and parent’s control over portion size were determined. Weight and height were measured and the standardised body mass index of each child was calculated. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to investigate the predictors of children’s FBV consumption.

Results:  Normal-weight children and parents ate FBV more frequently than overweight children. In the multiple linear regression analysis, mother’s (β = 0.476, P ≤ 0.001) and father’s consumption of FBV (β = 0.347, P = 0.001) and child’s preference for eating vegetables (β = 0.259, P = 0.002) were positively associated with the child’s consumption of FBV. In overweight children, parent’s consumption of FBV was the only predictor of the offspring’s consumption of FBV (P = 0.002).

Conclusions:  Predictors related to FBV consumption appear to be the similar in normal-weight and treatment-seeking overweight children. The findings obtained in the present study highlight the importance of parental modelling in determining the consumption of FBV in their children.