The impact of child-targeted dietary counseling of parents on food (milk) preferences of preschool-aged children in the STRIP project
AbstractObjective: To evaluate the food choices of the 6.5-year-old children in the STRIP trial. Design: 6.5-year-old children (n=102) were randomly selected for this study from participants (n=1062) in the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP), which began at the child's age of 6 months and is a prospective long-term coronary heart disease prevention trial. The children and their families (n=1054) were randomized in the main project to form an intervention and a control group. The intervention families were repeatedly counseled to reduce child's intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Using 50 pictures of individual food items, the children were asked to pick out their this morning's, yesterday's, last weekend's breakfast, the breakfast she/he would like to have, the breakfast the child thought the parents would like him/ her to have, and a healthy breakfast. Results: More intervention than control children (n=98 in the final analysis) chose skim milk in all the questions. The different bread spread choices of the intervention and the control children were always very similar. The children in both groups explained the meaning of a "healthy breakfast" most frequently (45-47% of answers) as a meal that makes one feel good and prevents sickness. Conclusions: Our data suggest that in the STRIP trial, after repeated child-targeted dietary counseling of the parents, the intervention children at the age of 6.5 years pretty well accepted skim milk for breakfast. It was only for milk that the extensive parental counseling seemed to have had an effect. There was no difference between groups with respect to the choice of fruit and vegetables. Keywords: Fat, food choice, intervention, milk, preschool children
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