Family food environment and child eating behavior in a private school of Abu Dhabi.

Type Journal Article - Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise
Title Family food environment and child eating behavior in a private school of Abu Dhabi.
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Aim: Dietary habits developed during childhood and continued through adulthood.
Children’s eating behaviours should be monitorining to avoid possible nutritional
deficiencies which have been found to be strongly related to the development of future
disease such as obesity, diabetes type 2 and others. The main aim of this study is to
explore the relationship between family food environment and the eating behavior during
dinnertime among children aged 4 to 6 years old in Abu Dhabi. A cross-sectional study
was carried out that examined the relationship between family food environment and
child’s eating behaviour around dinnertime.
Methods: 61 families participated in the study with their children aged 4-6 years old from
a private school. They completed a questionnaire that included questions about
demographics, eating behaviour and food environment.
Results: 82% of the mothers were reported to be responsible for feeding the children. Most
of the families had dinner together three or more times a week. Half of the children got a
high score in the child’s eating behaviour scale, indicating that they had positive eating
behaviour. The results also showed that children of highly educated mothers were more
likely to have positive eating behaviour, compared to children of mothers with lower
education (p < .05). There was a significant positive correlation between modelling of
eating and child eating behaviour ( Pearson’s r = .56, p < .01), and a significant negative
correlation between pressure to eat and child eating behaviour (Pearson’s r = -.35, p < .01).
Conclusion: This study is in line with other studies showing that aspects in the family food
environment have an influence on eating behaviour of children. Educating parents on food
environment and its impact on child behaviour is crucial in order to make them able to
develop feeding strategies most likely to benefit children's’ health.

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