ABSTRACT Objectives: To examine whether and how toddlers' vegetable and fruit consumption is associated with maternal vegetable and fruit consumption, mothers' perceptions of toddlers as “picky eaters,” maternal efficacy, and sociodemographic characteristics of the family.
Design and Sample: A cross-sectional survey. One hundred and ninety-nine African American and 200 Non-Hispanic White low-income, mother-toddler dyads enrolled in 8 Early Head Start programs in a Midwestern state.
Measures: Mothers completed the Feeding Self-Efficacy Scale, Toddler-Parent Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire, and Mothers' and Toddlers' Food Frequency Questionnaires. Data were analyzed using linear and logistic regression models.
Results: Toddlers were less likely to consume vegetables 4 or more times a week if their mothers: viewed them as “picky eaters” (OR: 2.5), did not consume vegetables 4 or more times a week themselves (OR: 10.1), and were African American (OR: 2.2). Toddlers were less likely to consume fruits 4 or more times a week if their mothers: viewed them as “picky eaters” (OR: 1.6) and did not consume fruit 4 or more times a week (OR: 9.9) themselves.
Conclusions: Health professionals need to consider mothers' own consumption of fruits and vegetables when developing strategies to increase toddler consumption of fruits and vegetables.